|For Immediate Release
March 4, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
FUGITIVE CONVICTED OF SIX ATTEMPTED MURDERS IN 1990 ARRESTED AFTER TWO DECADES OF HIDING USING FAKE NAMES AND BIRTHDATES
SANTA ANA – A fugitive facing a life sentence for six attempted murder convictions was arrested today after almost two decades of hiding from law enforcement by using fake names, birthdates, and social security numbers. Baldomero Johnny Diaz, 35, was arrested on a warrant by Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) investigators at his home in Menifee, Riverside County, and has been transported to Orange County. He will appear tomorrow, March 5, 2009, in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana, where he will be remanded to the custody of the California Department of Corrections to begin serving his prison sentence. The time is to be determined. Diaz is being held without bail.
On the evening of Oct. 22, 1989, Diaz, a then-17-year-old Hispanic criminal street gang member, and several other members and associates of his gang became involved in a verbal argument at a party in Santa Ana with members of a rival gang. Diaz and his fellow gang members left the party, armed themselves, and drove through Santa Ana looking for the rival gang members from the party.
Diaz, the driver of a stolen vehicle, and his fellow gang members located the rival gang drinking in a Santa Ana parking lot off First Street. Using at least two firearms, Diaz and his gang committed a drive-by shooting, firing at least 17 shots and hitting and injuring six of the rival gang members. The rival gang members all survived their injuries, including gunshot wounds to the knee, buttocks, arms, and legs. One rival was shot in the back, piercing his lung and rupturing his spleen. After the shooting, Diaz and his fellow gang members drove to a nearby Santa Ana park and celebrated by jumping and cheering.
The Santa Ana Police Department investigated the case. Five juvenile defendants, including Diaz and four other gang members who participated in the drive-by shooting, were arrested and prosecuted. Diaz was tried as an adult. On Aug. 29, 1990, he was convicted by a jury of six felony counts of attempted murder with premeditation and deliberation.
On Sept. 26, 1990, while awaiting sentencing, Diaz and another minor escaped from Juvenile Hall. The defendant escaped by crawling through a hole in a fence, which had been cut by someone on the outside. The other juvenile, who was not involved in the drive-by shooting and was in custody for unrelated crimes, was ultimately arrested. Diaz was not located.
On Nov. 9, 1990, Diaz was sentenced in absentia to life in state prison and a no-bail warrant was issued for his arrest. The case went cold for almost two decades.
In February 2009, the OCDA began re-investigating Diaz’s whereabouts in a review of cold cases. The investigation led to information that over the past two decades Diaz had used several false names, birthdates, and social security numbers and obtained several Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) identifications using the false information. It was found that in 2001 Diaz was arrested and prosecuted for prostitution in San Diego County under the name Jaime Gonzalez. In 2006, he was arrested and prosecuted for driving under the influence (DUI) in San Diego County under the name Edgar Francisco Gonzalez.