Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
|For Immediate Release
Case # 09NF0020
September 30, 2011
Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
GANG MEMBER SENTENCED TO 45 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON AFTER MURDER CONVICTION FOR CAUSING FRIEND’S DEATH BY SHOOTING AT POLICE
SANTA ANA – A Fresno gang member was sentenced today to 45 years to life in state prison after being convicted of murder for causing the death of a fellow gang member by shooting at police.Arthur Kenneth Gallardo III, 32, Mendota, was found guilty by a jury Aug. 16, 2011, of one felony count of murder, two felony counts of attempted murder of a police officer, one felony count of street terrorism, and sentencing enhancements for the discharge of a firearm.
On Dec. 26, 2006, Gallardo and fellow criminal street gang member, Edmundo Gomez, called and ordered a pizza for delivery in Fresno. When the pizza deliveryman arrived, the defendant and Gomez carjacked the victim using a shotgun. They also stole the pizzas. The two men then went on a 3-day drug binge and ended up in Orange County.
At approximately 3:00 a.m. on Dec. 29, 2006, the defendants stopped at a red light at an intersection in Fullerton and passed out in the stolen vehicle while it was still running. Gomez was in the driver’s seat with the shotgun used in the prior carjacking propped between his seat and the center console, and Gallardo was asleep in the passenger seat with a semiautomatic firearm on his lap. The car was protruding into the intersection and partially blocking another lane, prompting a bus driver to call the police.
Officers from the Fullerton Police Department (FPD) responded to the scene, unaware of the firearms in the defendant’s vehicle. The first officer to arrive parked his car facing the defendant’s car to prevent them from driving away. A second officer arrived and the two officers approached the windows of the stolen vehicle, in which Gallardo and Gomez were still sleeping. Upon observing the two firearms, the officers backed away and called for assistance.
Several additional FPD officers responded to the scene and patrol cars were strategically parked to prevent Gallardo and Gomez from fleeing. After safely positioning themselves, the officers turned on several bright lights and woke the sleeping gang members.
Upon waking up, Gomez accelerated in the stolen car and crashed into a patrol vehicle in an effort to flee. As Gomez slammed into patrol cars, Gallardo used the firearm from his lap and fired several shots directly through the windshield of the stolen vehicle into an FPD patrol car.
Gallardo turned his firearm and pointed it at the FPD officers, who then fired back at the defendant. Gomez was killed after being shot in the head. Gallardo sustained only superficial graze wounds and was released from the hospital the following day. No officers were injured.
Gallardo was prosecuted for the murder of Gomez as a provocative act, meaning that Gomez would not have been killed but for the direct actions by Gallardo of shooting at police patrol vehicles.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Colleen Crommett prosecuted this case.