19-year-old will be tried on mur­der charges

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - News - BY ROBERT RODRIGUEZ rro­[email protected]­nobee.com

A 19-year-old sus­pected gang mem­ber will be tried on mur­der and at­tempted mur­der charges for al­legedly shoot­ing a 31-yearold fa­ther of five to death last year and in­jur­ing an­other man, a Fresno County Su­pe­rior Court judge de­cided Fri­day.

Su­pe­rior Court Judge Kent Ham­lin had strong words for Eliseo Orozco, calling him a wannabe “bad boy” for aim­ing his hand gun side­ways, as he squeezed off at least six shots at a car driven by the vic­tim, Juan Ran­gel, who was with his cousin Luis Ran­gel.

After two days of tes­ti­mony, Ham­lin said it was clear Orozco was the shooter that sum­mer night on June 28. “We know who shot the gun and we know what he was try­ing to do,” Ham­lin said.

Ran­gel died at the scene and his cousin, Luis Ran­gel, 18, was taken to Com­mu­nity Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter where he was treated and later re­leased.

Ran­gel’s fam­ily mem­bers ex­haled in re­lief as Ham­lin is­sued his rul­ing Fri­day af­ter­noon. Dur­ing the hear­ing, some of the fam­ily wore shirts that said “Jus­tice for Juan” and “Faith Hope and Love.” Ex­tra sher­iff’s deputies were at the hear­ing to en­sure there weren’t any prob­lems be­tween the fam­i­lies of the de­fen­dant and vic­tim.

Ran­gel’s wife, An­gel­ica, ad­mit­ted her hus­band had pre­vi­ously been as­so­ci­ated with the Norteño gang, but left that lifestyle more than 20 years ago. They were both rais­ing their five chil­dren and were liv­ing in the Lake Ta­hoe area for years, be­fore re­turn­ing to Fresno in March last year for fam­ily rea­sons.

“When we moved back we even lived on the other side of town, to stay away from all that stuff,” she said.

De­tec­tives tes­ti­fied that on the day Ran­gel was shot he had re­turned to his old neigh­bor­hood to pick up a car jack from his fa­ther’s house. As he and his cousin were driv­ing back, they came across sev­eral Sureño gang mem­bers, in­clud­ing Orozco, who were hanging out in front of the Frank H. Ball park on Mayor Street.

De­tec­tives and wit­nesses said Orozco spot­ted Ran­gel and his cousin driv­ing by the park.

Det. Raul Diaz tes­ti­fied that one of the wit­nesses saw Orozco rush into the street, pull a hand­gun from his waist­band and be­gin fir­ing at the ve­hi­cle.

The de­fen­dant’s fa­ther Eliseo Orozco Sr. tes­ti­fied un­der ques­tion­ing from de­fense at­tor­ney Mark Siegel that his son couldn’t have been the shooter be­cause he was home when it hap­pened.

The elder Orozco said he was work­ing on the roof of his home and his son was in­side play­ing with his nephew. “He was right there with me,” the elder Orozco said. “He was go­ing to help me lift the cooler onto the roof.”

Un­der cross ex­am­i­na­tion by Deputy District At­tor­ney Kelly Smith, the elder Orozco said he had only been on the roof for about 45 min­utes to an hour. But dur­ing an in­ter­view with po­lice after the shoot­ing, he told de­tec­tives he had been on the roof from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

When asked by Smith about the dis­crep­ancy, the elder said he did not re­mem­ber telling po­lice how long he was on the roof.

Smith said the younger Orozco was well known to po­lice and gang de­tec­tives as a mem­ber of the Sureño gang.

Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol de­tec­tive Felix Lara tes­ti­fied Fri­day the area around the park is con­sid­ered Sureño ter­ri­tory. It’s also where po­lice and gang de­tec­tives came to know Orozco as be­ing con­nected to the gang.

Fresno po­lice gang de­tec­tives said Orozco has been seen at the home of one of the gang’s lead­ers dur­ing what was de­scribed as a gang meet­ing.

On a sep­a­rate oc­ca­sion he was also found with sev­eral small bags of a white crys­talline sub­stance dur­ing a rou­tine pa­trol of the area. And two years ago he was the vic­tim of a shoot­ing, al­though he pro­vided very lit­tle informatio­n to in­ves­ti­ga­tors about who shot him.

Orozco’s next hear­ing is sched­uled for May 14. If he is con­victed of first de­gree mur­der, at­tempted mur­der, plus en­hance­ments, he could be sen­tenced to a max­i­mum of 82 years to life. He re­mains in cus­tody in lieu of $2.9 mil­lion bail.

Eliseo Orozco

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