The three victims who were shot to death on Eighth Lane in December 2010 were gang members, Police Chief Michael Massoni said Thursday after a press conference announcing that .
It’s a point by some community members and relatives of the victims ever since the began investigating the homicides as gang-related shortly after they happened.
Though U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag wouldn’t comment on the matter at Thursday’s press conference, the 37-count indictment describes the defendants’ gang affiliations in detail and characterizes the crimes as violent disputes between rival gang factions.
According to the indictment, the defendants were members or affiliates of the 500 Block/C Street gang, a Norteño gang.
The 500 Block gang formed in South San Francisco in the 1990s, when it split off from the Cypress Park Lobos (also Norteño) due to “internal disagreements,” according to the indictment. The 500 Block gang was so named because its territory included the 500 block of Baden Avenue, as well as Commercial Avenue and Railroad Avenue.
In the mid-2000s, the 500 Block gang began to develop strong ties with the C Street gang, a Norteño gang with adjacent turf along the 200, 300 and 400 blocks of C Street and Orange Memorial Park. The C Street gang dates back to the 1980s in South San Francisco.
“Since the mid-2000s, the 500 Block gang and the C Street gang essentially function as a single, unified association-in-fact enterprise,” the indictment reads. “Their members coordinate their activities and engage in violence together to defend their collective territory against rival Sureño gangs, such as the Westborough Park Sureños of South San Francisco and the Lomitas Park Locos of San Bruno, California, as well as rival Norteño gangs, notably, CPL [Cypress Park Locos]”
The shooting on Dec. 22, 2010, was part of this dispute with rival Norteño gangs, Massoni said.
The San Mateo County Gang Task Force joined the investigation almost immediately after the crime.
The indictment defines the 500 Block/C Street gang as a criminal enterprise as grounds for federal racketeering charges. Four of the defendants are charged with racketeering murder .
In order to fight gang activity, . The team consists of four officers focused on reducing violent crime and gang activity, particularly in the Old Town Neighborhood, where the Dec. 2010 shooting and others have occurred.
The team’s work has resulted in a 37.5 percent decrease in violent crime and a 44 percent decrease in vandalism, , with 300 arrests and 20 handgun confiscations.
Correction: This article originally referred to a local gang as the "Cypress Park Lobos." There are in fact known as the "Cypress Park Locos."