The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office warned that the fugitives should be considered dangerous but gave no other details on how they broke out of jail early Sunday in Salinas, a farming city of about 160,000 people roughly 100 miles south of San Francisco.
Santos Fonseca, 21, and Jonathan Salazar, 20, had been behind bars since last year and were awaiting trial on murder counts and “numerous other felony charges” in separate cases, authorities said.
Fonseca is accused of shooting Lorenzo Gomez Acosta, 37, to death on June 2, 2018, while the victim sat in his car on a video call with his wife in Mexico, the Californian newspaper in Salinas reported.
She saw a scuffle, heard her husband screaming “no” and then gunshots rang out, Salinas police Officer Froylan Aranda testified at a preliminary hearing in March.
Fonseca told police that his gang leader told him to kill someone to prove he was still loyal to the “Boronda gang,” Detective Gabriela Contreras testified. Acosta was reportedly chosen at random.
Three days later, Fonseca shot and killed Ernesto Garcia Cruz, 27, in a Salinas park, authorities allege. He told police that the gang leader also ordered the slaying and that he picked his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend “to send him a message,” Contreras said, according to the newspaper.
Salazar was arrested in the shooting death of 20-year-old Jaime Martinez as the victim drove in Salinas with his girlfriend and 18-month-old son, the newspaper reported. The woman was shot and treated at a hospital, while the child wasn’t hurt.
Police investigated the on Oct. 12, 2017, shooting as gang-related. Officers said at Salazar’s preliminary hearing earlier this year that his tattoos, including the letter P on his cheek, refer to his Sureño offshoot gang, La Posada Trece, the Californian reported. His trial was scheduled to begin in January.
The sheriff’s office is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the fugitives’ arrests.