Photo: Jason Cornejo
UNION CITY — More juveniles and teenagers are becoming involved in violent crimes in cities situated along the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay. The arrests of suspects for murders at an elementary school is one horrendous example.
Union City police investigating the murders of two boys at Searles Elementary School recently arrested a third suspect. The 11- and 14-year-old victims were fatally shot multiple times November 23 in the school parking lot.
This disturbing violence is hardly unique to Union City. Police in other East Bay cities also report rising numbers of juveniles and teenagers committing armed robberies and carjackings. Suspects as young as 11 years old have been arrested in Oakland and Richmond.
For the killings at the elementary school, Carlos G. Zepeda, 20 of Hayward, was arrested on December 1. Zepeda, a suspected gang member, was booked on murder charges.
Zepeda was also arrested in February and September this year on suspicion of murder. In December 2019, he was arrested for DUI and driving without a license.
Zepeda’s recent arrest follows the arrest of Jason Cornejo, 18 of Castro Valley, and an unidentified 17-year-old boy from Hayward. Cornejo is also allegedly a gang member involved in the school murders. He was arrested in February.
A few days prior to Cornejo’s arrest, authorities executed search warrants at six locations. Alameda County Sheriff’s Office deputies participated, along with police from Fremont, Hayward, Oakland, Richmond, and Union City.
Besides implicating Cornejo, those raids netted five firearms, 8 pounds of methamphetamine, 40 pounds of cannabis, and more than $10,000.