SANTA ANA, Calif. – A gang member was convicted yesterday of murdering an innocent bystander in a retaliatory gang shooting in Santa Ana. Rene Mojarra, 24, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury ON March 14, 2017, of one felony count of special circumstances murder, one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon, and one felony count of street terrorism, with sentencing enhancements for murder committed for criminal street gang purpose, personal discharge of a firearm causing death, and criminal street gang activity. Mojarra faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole at his sentencing on May 19, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
At approximately 6:30 p.m. on March 12, 2012, Mojarra, a member of a criminal street gang with a moniker of “Reebok,” and another gang member were driving through rival gang territory with the intent to commit a retaliatory gang shooting. Mojarra was armed with a .40 semi-automatic handgun while riding in the passenger seat of a 1995 Red Nissan Quest Minivan in the area of East 15th Street and Spurgeon Street in Santa Ana. The defendant saw the victim, 20-year-old Mario Hernandez Jr., standing near the driveway of an underground parking structure. Mojarra got out of the vehicle and opened fire, striking the victim three times, before fleeing the scene. Hernandez was pronounced dead as a result of the gunshot wounds at 7:01 p.m. at the Western Medical Center. The victim was not a member of a criminal street gang.
Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) detectives, who investigated this case, identified the vehicle and arrested Mojarra on March 13, 2012.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Dave Porter of the Gangs Unit is prosecuting this case.
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 12CF0764 / March 15, 2017