The 2012 homicide rate in San Mateo County dropped from the previous year, with a majority of the 15 deaths occurring in East Palo Alto, but arrests were made only in three cases where the suspect was discovered at the scene of the crime.
Of the others, suspects remain at large in all but the shooting of a 15-year-old boy by a South San Francisco police officer that was ultimately ruled a justifiable homicide.
The 2012 statistics are not universally agreed upon; the District Attorney's Office counts 15 homicides while the Coroner's Office lists 11. The discrepancy is largely in part because District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe includes cases of vehicular death that are charged as murder while Coroner Robert Foucrault does not. The two also disagree over a February hanging in Daly City and a March beating and stabbing in Menlo Park.
Regardless, either figure is less than the 2011 tally of 18 and a very far cry from San Mateo County's peak in 1992 when more than 60 homicides were recorded and more than 45 were in East Palo Alto.
The city has the dubious honor of having 2013's first homicide — a shooting that injured one other on Monday, Jan. 14 — and seven in 2012. Menlo Park followed with three, San Bruno had two and Daly City, South San Francisco and Pacifica each had one.
San Mateo County got though January without any homicides but marked its first Tuesday, Feb. 7 when Natisha Anderson allegedly stabbed Charles Perry, the father of her 4-year-old child, during an argument. Anderson called police for his removal but told them upon arrival he had left, according to prosecutors. Several minutes later, she called 911 again to say she "accidentally stabbed” him, according to prosecutors. He died at the hospital from a stab wound to his femoral artery and police found a steak knife in the sink.
Anderson is one of the three people arrested for murder in 2012 and the only woman. She is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Feb. 28.
Two weeks later on Monday, Feb. 27 Daly City police reported finding a man hanging in his studio apartment on the 40 block of Park Plaza.
Foucrault's office has the case labeled a suicide but Wagstaffe said, while he understands the reasoning, his office believes the death appears suspicious.
Another case in question is the Monday, March 26 death of Lawrence Cronin, 67, who was stabbed and beating while walking in front of his insurance office on Alma Street in Menlo Park. He died two months later. The cause of death is undetermined so it is not considered a homicide by the Coroner's Office, Foucrault said, adding that the stabbing may have been self-inflicted.
East Palo Alto had its second homicide Thursday, April 26 when 25-year-old Alejandro Palomino-Albino was found beaten to death on the street near a parking lot on the 300 block of East O'Keefe Street.
Homicides then stayed at bay nearly two months until South San Francisco police Officer Joshua Cubillo fatally shot 15-year-old Derrick Gaines at the Arco gas station at Westborough and Gellert boulevards. In October, the District Attorney's Office declared the shooting a justifiable homicide but Gaines' family is seeking $10 million in damages from the city of South San Francisco.
According to the district attorney's report on the case, Gaines was shot June 5 after he and another teen were stopped by Cubillo, who reportedly suspected the teen was carrying drugs or possibly a weapon due to his suspicious behavior. The officer gave chase and caught up to him quickly before grabbing his clothing and striking him on the back of the head with a gun. The officer told Gaines to put his hands in the air and the teen started to comply before fleeing the scene. As Gaines fell to the ground, a gun fell from him onto the ground close to the teen's knee and Cubillo shot..
Two days later, on Thursday, June 7, Cedric Tippins, 31, was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds just before midnight in the 2500 block of Gloria Way. East Palo Alto police were alerted by its Shotspotter gunfire-detection system.
On Sunday, June 23, 19-year-old Jesus Becerra was shot twice in the driveway of a Madera Street home where had been attending a party. The teen was a Norteño associate, according to Menlo Park police.
The next day, June 24, in East Palo Alto Taliban gangmember Edmund Beverly, 30, was shot four times in the 2300 block of Glen Way. The Shotspotter system again alerted police.
In 2009, Beverly was reportedly involved in a gunfire battle with another man that shut down Lincoln Street.
The summer's last homicides were in San Bruno when 39-year-old Rodney Corsiglia had a seizure while driving just after noon Saturday, July 28 and collided into a car carrying two cousins on their way to a baptism. Prosecutors charged Corsiglia with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Usbaldo Gomez, 37, and Arnulfo Picazo, 39, because they say he was intoxicated and forbidden to drive because of his medical condition of petit mal seizures. He has a record of seven crashes, including two on the same day, and was also convicted in 2004 of striking his girlfriend with a telephone receiver while intoxicated and seizing.
Corsiglia crashed into several eastbound cars at an El Camino Real stoplight while driving east on Sneath Lane. Two others, an adult and a 9-year-old boy, were also hospitalized with serious injuries.
Corsiglia is scheduled for trial Aug. 19. The Coroner's Office does not consider these two deaths homicides because they were vehicular in nature.
Christopher Baker, 21, was shot six times with a handgun by a person on a bike just after 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5 on the 2200 block Terra Villa Avenue. Baker was a DaVille gangmember who had a dispute with a Taliban gang member a week prior during an Operation Ceasefire meeting, Wagstaffe said.
The same night at 11:13 p.m., Taliban gang associate Lonnie Brown, 24, was shot multiple times in front of his girlfriends' home on the 300 block of Azalea Drive as the couple were leaving.
The last murder suspected arrested in 2012 was Marc Anthony Furlan, 24, who is accused of beating and stabbing his 24-year-old friend Keith Coffey with a hammer in Pacifica.
Furlan and Coffey reportedly argued Oct. 17 at the home of Furlan's father on Dell Road before Coffey was hit more than 50 times by a hammer. Prosecutors say Furlan dragged the body outside before trying to clean the scene. Two tenants who fled the scene contacted police who reported finding Furlan trying to dispose of the body and leaving a wide swath of blood from the house to outside.
Coffey's death was Pacifica's first homicide since 2000.
On Nov. 17 at 6:30 p.m., Carey Cudlip, 42 and of Newark, was shot in the head while siting in a car with his girlfriend outside a home in Menlo Park. Cudlip had reportedly just collected a $20 debt and authorities say two males in hoodies had walked up and demanded money before shooting and fleeing on foot. The woman was not injured.
The year's homicides ended where it began — East Palo Alto — just before 10 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16 on the 1500 block of Bay Road. Rodolfo Navarro Balderas, 45, was standing in the doorway of a residence when he was shot by an unknown person. Balderas fell between cars in the driveway and died. Police were alerted by the shot spotter system.
While police arrested only three people on murder charges in 2012, the District Attorney's Office filed four cases.
In August, prosecutors charged Placerville sex offender John William Kelley, 49, with potentially capital murder charges after DNA linked him to the December 1986 rape and fatal beating of Annette Thur, a 17-year-old Ben Lomond girl whose body was discovered down a San Mateo County embankment.
Michelle Durand can be reached by email: email@example.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 102.