This story was originally published in the Daily Post on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
The mother and sister of one of the two young men shot dead at a party in East Palo Alto eight weeks ago said yesterday that they feel like police haven’t focused enough attention on the murders.
Eduardo “Lalo” Alvarado Sandoval, 22, of Stockton, and Mario Vidales Mendez, 23, of Redwood City, were killed at a birthday party at the A1 Auto Services & Towing lot on Oct. 14.
Their assailant hasn’t been arrested. On Oct. 29, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said it was his understanding that the East Palo Alto Police Department is having a hard time locating the gunman, and that perhaps he has fled to Mexico.
Sandoval’s mother, Veronica, and his sister, Idalia, told the Post yesterday that they’re frustrated with the police department’s investigation and have heard little from detectives who have been assigned to the case.
“I’m sure they are (working on the case), but it sucks to be on the sidelines and not have any real information about it,” Idalia Sandoval said.
The Post reached out to police Cmdr. Jeff Liu yesterday (Dec. 3) about the Sandovals’ complaint, but did not hear back from him.
The Sandoval family moved from East Palo Alto to Stockton about four years ago, but kept in contact with friends here.
They moved to get away form the “East Palo Alto scene,” as Idalia put it, in an attempt to make sure the family’s children, all in their early 20s, would stay on the right path.
On Oct. 13, Veronica Sandoval drove her youngest child, Eduardo, to East Palo Alto to attend his friend’s birthday party.
The fatal shooting was the very thing the family was hoping to avoid by moving.
“He didn’t even have a freaking speeding ticket. I mean he was no angel, but it was nothing that would have put in him a situation like this,” Idalia said about her younger brother.
In addition to killing Sandoval and Mendez, the gunman wounded two other people. One of those was Sandoval’s cousin, who has been in and out of the hospital since the shooting. The other wounded man, the birthday girl’s boyfriend, has been released from the hospital.
Alcohol might be a factor
Cmdr. Liu said at the beginning of the investigation that there was no indication that the shooting was gang-related, and that it appeared to have simply been a fight.
Idalia and her mother Veronica both told the Post that they believe the fight was fueled by drinking at the party.
Yesterday (Dec. 3), Veronica went to the police station set up an appointment to talk about the case, but she was told that the investigating officers wouldn’t be available for another two weeks.
The mother and daughter said it’s been hard to get a hold of East Palo Alto police and feel like they know about the same amount of information as the public.
What about the surveillance video?
They’re surprised more information isn’t available about the case since police arrived about two minutes after the shooting, and there were many surveillance cameras in the tow lot.
“There were too many witnesses and too much evidence for this not to be solved,” Idalia said. “I’m sure people know who it is and they need to come forward to help close the case.”
Veronica said police have an anonymous tip line for people afraid of retribution. Tipsters can:
• Send an anonymous email to firstname.lastname@example.org
• Send an anonymous text to (650) 409-6792
• Leave an anonymous voice mail at (650) 409-6792