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Thursday, 19 March 2009

Francisco Alvarez, 20, was shot at least twice with a small-caliber handgun.

what appears to have been a gang-related incident, a young man was shot and wounded Wednesday afternoon outside an apartment complex on Arastradero Road in Palo Alto.Police spent the evening searching for Daniel Gil-Fernandez, the 19-year-old suspect whom witnesses saw running into the Arastradero Park Apartments just after the victim was hit, around 3 p.m. Gil-Fernandez, who lived in the complex with his family, was fired from his job at Round Table Pizza two weeks ago, and police said he claimed affiliation with the Nortenos gang.He was gone when authorities searched the apartments and remained at large, possibly armed, as of 10 p.m., Palo Alto police Agent Dan Ryan said. He was described as Hispanic, about six feet tall and 190 pounds, and was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.The victim, identified by a relative as Francisco Alvarez, 20, was seen running down Maybell Avenue toward El Camino Real after the shooting, witnesses said. Authorities found him near a Walgreens on the corner at about 3:15 p.m., shirtless and bleeding from the torso and groin. He was taken to Stanford Hospital, where he was in stable condition Wednesday evening, Palo Alto police Agent Dan Ryan said. The bullet wounds suggested he was shot at least twice with a small-caliber handgun.
Ryan declined to confirm the victim's identity, though he said it appeared he and Gil-Fernandez had met before.
Palo Alto's last shooting, which was fatal, was near city hall in July 2008. The shooting prompted a brief lockdown of nearby Gunn High School and Juana Briones Elementary School. The 500 block of Maybell Avenue was roped off with police tape throughout the afternoon, as were portions of the Arastradero Park Apartments.
Alvarez, the victim, had gotten out of prison just two weeks ago, according to a close relative, whose identity police asked the Daily News not to disclose. The family moved to Palo Alto from San Jose "because we thought it was a good, nice place," she said.
Instead, she went on, Alvarez was shot Wednesday in front of his 3-year-old brother after taking him to a park near their home. He was getting ready to go for a run, she said, because he had gained weight in the year he spent in prison and was trying to get fit again. She did not witness the shooting and couldn't say why Alvarez might have been targeted. Police said it appeared the victim had first been shot at in a courtyard of the apartment complex, then again in the back driveway off Maybell, with about eight shots in total fired. When authorities found him, he had little to say about who had attacked him or why. "He wasn't very helpful to police," Ryan said.Relatives said Gil-Fernandez stopped into his apartment, where he lived with his mother, father and brothers, some time after 2 p.m. to take a shower and make some phone calls. They heard several loud booms outside not long after he left, but didn't connect them with Gil-Fernandez. They said they hadn't seen him since. But soon after, police arrived at their door with shotguns and ordered everyone to get on the floor.One of his close relatives, who asked that his name not be published, described Gil-Fernandez as a troubled "black sheep" who had been arrested before, but only for misdemeanors. "He's a good kid, a great kid, but he has this other side," the relative said, adding that he appeared to have gotten involved in drugs and gangs. After attending local schools, he dropped out of Gunn High School as a senior.A manager at Round Table Pizza on nearby California Avenue said Gil-Fernandez worked there until about two weeks ago, when he was fired after getting into an argument with the owner.


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