The alleged gunman responsible for last year’s Grove Street gang shooting has accepted a plea deal that would send him to prison for 14 years.
The defendant, 22-year-old Christian DeLeon of Half Moon Bay, pleaded no contest to two counts of assault with additional charges for being a gang member and using a firearm. By accepting the Aug. 28 deal, he avoided a possible attempted murder conviction, which could have carried a life sentence.
Prosecutors believe DeLeon was one among several gang members who converged last August at the end of Grove in the Arleta Park neighborhood. During the encounter, he pulled out a pistol and fired at least six shots at a group characterized by law enforcement as rival gang members. The shots hit one man in the chest and another in the foot. DeLeon later rode away on a bicycle.
Half Moon Bay residents were shaken by the shooting, which occurred while children were playing nearby. The attack triggered a wider discussion about the problem of gang violence in the community.
San Mateo County Sheriff’s officials spent more than two weeks investigating the crime before sending a SWAT team to raid DeLeon’s home. He lived only two blocks from the scene of the shooting.
DeLeon was already facing charges for allegedly orchestrating a group attack against a 17-year-old who wanted to sever his ties with the Norteño gang.
The two cases were combined into one criminal trial. District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe explained that Aug. 28 was the deadline for DeLeon to accept a plea deal or face a jury trial next month.
“This was a middle ground resolution — he avoids a murder trial and a life sentence … and we get him off the streets of Half Moon Bay,” he said.
DeLeon was immediately sentenced to 14 years with no chance for a reduction in prison time. As part of his plea, he will remain in the county jail system until the end of September, which will allow him to say goodbye to friends and family before going to state prison.