By Steven Sandberg
CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Two men will serve more than 10 years behind bars for their parts in a gang-related shooting last November.
Prosecutors say it was difficult to unravel what happened here on Beall Lane last November when two people were shot. The suspects all have gang-ties, and wouldn’t cooperate. On Wednesday, those defendants were finally punished, even if all the answers haven’t been found.
It might be the closest thing to resolution they get for a gang-related shooting. 20-year-old Miguel Carbajal, sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday for manslaughter and attempted murder, and 19-year-old Fransisco Campos, who will serve 12 years for conspiracy to commit murder.
“We hadn’t experienced this kind of gang violence, and it kind of lets us know this type of activity is happening out there and hopefully we don’t have any more gang-type shootings,” says Chief Deputy District Attorney Beth Heckert
Prosecutors say four men with gang ties — Carbajal, Campos, 16-year-old Gustavo Santiago and 21-year-old Gabriel Perez, were in a car that shot at a central point couple last November on Beall Lane. Jennifer Knutson and Erik Dorey were both hit, but survived.
The suspects then led police on a high speed chase before crashing. 16-year-old Gustavo Santiago was thrown from the car and killed. Carbajal, the driver, was sentenced for Santiago’s death and Campos charge came when his fingerprint was found on the gun magazine. Prosecutors say there is not enough evidence to charge Perez because the others aren’t talking.
“We’ll never know really why it happened, either, that’s the other big question in people’s minds,” Heckert says. “Whether this was mistaken identity, whether they thought this was someone else’s car, whether this was a total random act.”
Campos and Carbajal are from Tulare County, California. Carbajal’s attorney, John Eckram, says his client thought they were looking for a fistfight that night.
“He was under the impression that’s what they were doing here. Obviously he was wrong,” Eckram stated.
Dorey and Knutson did not attend Wednesday’s proceedings, but the mother of Gustavo Santiago was there, sobbing as prosecutors explains how her son ended up dead. She briefly addressed the court, saying, “I don’t think they deserve to step on the streets again. What you did destroyed my family.”
The fourth person in that car, Gabriel Perez, is currently in Jackson County Jail on unrelated charges. He had eluded police since the incident before being arrested in May.