|For Immediate Release
November 29, 2010
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN CHARGED WITH MURDERING VICTIM IN RESTAURANT BY SHOOTING HIM IN BACK WHILE VICTIM WAS GETTING COFFEE
*Defendant is also charged in a separate attempted murder case that occurred one day after the murder
SANTA ANA – A man has been charged with murdering a victim in a Santa Ana restaurant by shooting him repeatedly in the back while the victim was pouring a cup of coffee. Israel Pena Lopez, 35, Santa Ana, is charged with one felony count each of murder and possession of a firearm by a felon with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. He has a 2004 prior strike conviction for participation in a criminal street gang. If convicted in this case, Lopez faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison. The People will be requesting $1 million bail at Lopez’s arraignment Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.
At approximately 7:40 p.m. on Oct. 13, 2010, Lopez is accused of walking into Panaderia La Chapina restaurant on Edinger Avenue in Santa Ana armed with a firearm. He is accused of shooting 22-year-old Alejandro Sanchez several times in the back, murdering him. Sanchez had his back turned and was pouring coffee at a counter at the time of the murder.
Lopez is accused of leaving the restaurant and then returning a few moments later. He is accused of again attempting to shoot the victim, who was lying on the floor, but Lopez’s firearm failed to discharge. He is accused of fleeing the scene. Witnesses called 911 and the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) began investigating the case.
Attempted Murder Case (Case # 10CF2860)
On Oct. 14, 2010, one day after the murder of Sanchez, Lopez is accused of being outside in the area of Saint Andrew Place and Rene Street in Santa Ana. He is accused of yelling out the name of his Hispanic criminal street gang and shooting a firearm multiple times at an unknown victim, who was not hit. Lopez is accused of then running away through a neighborhood as witnesses called 911.
As the defendant attempted to flee, he is accused of stepping on the leg of victim Jane Doe while running through her yard. He was located and arrested in a nearby backyard by SAPD. At the time of his arrest, Lopez is accused of being in possession of heroin and a firearm.
For this case, Lopez was charged Oct. 18, 2010, with one felony count each of attempted murder, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession for sale of a controlled substance, and street terrorism with a sentencing enhancement for criminal street gang activity and the personal discharge of a firearm. He is also charged in the case with his 2004 prior strike conviction. If convicted of these charges, Lopez faces a maximum sentence of 47 years and six months to life in state prison. He is being held on $1 million bail and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing Dec. 10, 2010, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.