Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
GANG MEMBER SENTENCED TO LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE FOR 1995 ROBBERY-MURDER OF MAN ON WAY TO GROCERY STORE
SANTA ANA – A Santa Ana criminal street gang member was sentenced today to life without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to murdering a 21-year-old man who was walking to the grocery store. Eloy Gonzalez, 31, Santa Ana, was convicted of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery and street terrorism with sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity and the personal use of a firearm.
At approximately 1:20 p.m. on Jan. 2, 1995, 21-year-old Abel Chavira was walking to the grocery store in the area of 1200 E. McFadden in Santa Ana. His fiancé had given him $10 to buy laundry detergent. Gonzalez approached the victim with a gun with the intention of robbing him. Gonzalez and the victim began to struggle, and the defendant shot Chavira several times in the torso. During the struggle, Gonzalez also shot himself in the hand. The defendant then fled the scene, leaving a trail of blood in the alley from his bleeding hand. Neighbors who heard the gunshots called 9-1-1. Chavira died 30 minutes later.
The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) investigated the murder, but the case went cold when they were unable to identify the defendant. In 2006, SAPD began to re-investigate the case after receiving a tip that Gonzalez had committed the 1995 murder of Chavira. At that time, Gonzalez was in prison serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for a 1999 robbery and murder. The defendant’s DNA was tested and matched to the blood left in the alley.
Deputy District Attorney Alison Gyves of the Gang Unit prosecuted this case.