Greenfield murder suspect arrested


3 other gang members taken into custody during raid

Contributed Photo
Salinas Police Department SWAT team serves an arrest warrant for Greenfield murder suspect Nathan Gallardo April 18 in Soledad.

GREENFIELD — Multiple law enforcement agencies assisted the South County Major Crimes Unit last Wednesday to arrest a 19-year-old suspect in connection with the February shooting that killed a Greenfield father of two.

Local investigators and area SWAT team members served three search warrants April 18 at 6 a.m. at residences in the 1200 block of Oak Avenue and 1000 block of Pinnacles Avenue in Greenfield and in the 200 block of Eighth Street and Pacifico Place in Soledad.

The homicide suspect, Nathan Gallardo, 19, of Greenfield, was found at the Soledad residence and taken into custody.

NATHAN GALLARDO

According to the Major Crimes Unit, evidence and witness statements helped investigators obtain the search warrants to locate Gallardo.

“Through the ongoing efforts of the investigators, with the assistance of the public, valuable information was obtained that led to the identity of Nathan Gallardo,” police said in a news release.

Gallardo, a Norteno gang member, was wanted for the Feb. 20 murder of 32-year-old Joseph Suniga Jr., who was shot and killed while riding his bicycle in the 600 block of Apple Avenue in Greenfield that afternoon after being approached by the suspect.

Police released surveillance photos of the suspected gunman and offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

“The investigators would like to thank the public for their cooperation in this investigation and their valuable input,” police said.

JOSEPH SUNIGA JR.

According to Suniga’s obituary, he was a father of two and lifelong resident of South Monterey County. He was born in King City and lived in Greenfield up until the time of his death.

“Joseph enjoyed riding his bike, he enjoyed working out and spending time at the park with his two sons,” his obituary says. “Sometimes he would go to church with his family. He loved listening to music.”

Three other Norteno gang members from Greenfield were also arrested during the morning raid at the Pinnacles Avenue residence, where police seized 42 grams of cocaine, 2 pounds of marijuana, 70 grams of butane hash oil and $1,500 cash.

Michael Gutierrez, 26, was arrested on charges of possession of clandestine lab material (BHO lab), possession of a controlled substance, maintaining a residence for sales of narcotics and street gang enhancement.

Johnathan Davila and Gerardo Salas Jr., both 20 years old, were taken into custody on charges of possession of a controlled substance for sales, possession of a controlled substances while armed and street gang enhancement.

South County Major Crimes Unit, a collaboration between Greenfield and King City police departments, was assisted during the investigation by SWAT teams from the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office and Salinas Police Department as well as Soledad Police Department, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Investigative Services Unit, Homeland Security and the FBI. California Highway Patrol’s Air Unit also provided assistance via helicopter.

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