Two suspects have been charged in the November killing of two boys at a Union City elementary school, the Union City Police Department announced Friday morning.
The suspects, 18-year-old Jason Cornejo of Castro Valley and a 17-year-old boy from Hayward whose name was not released, have both been charged with shooting deaths of 11-year-old Kevin Hernandez and 14-year-old Sean Withington.
The suspects were in police custody on unrelated charges when they were arrested, police said.
The boys, both Union City residents, were gunned down at about 1:30 p.m. Nov. 23 while they were inside a van in the parking lot of Searles Elementary School on Sherman Drive.
Withington was pronounced dead at the scene and Hernandez was pronounced dead while in route to a local trauma center, according to police.
Police didn’t give a motive for the shooting or explain what evidence allegedly ties the suspects to the killings but Union City Police Chief Jared Rinetti called the suspects “dangerous gang members,” according to a news release sent out Friday morning.
During the investigation, Union City police worked with several other law enforcement agencies and officers were able to serve search warrants at six different East Bay locations — four in unincorporated Alameda County, one in Hayward and one in Richmond, police said.
Officers were able to find about 40 pounds of marijuana, 8 pounds of methamphetamine, two handguns, three assault weapons, more than $10,000 in cash, several high capacity magazines, ammunition and other evidence related to the boy’s killings, according to police.
Rinetti said in the news release:
“My heart goes out to the families of the victims. These were children who were murdered, and even though we cannot change the past or reverse this tragedy, I am relieved that we were able to control the outcome of this investigation with the arrest and charging of these dangerous gang members.”
A news conference announcing the charges was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday and speakers including Rinetti, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Alameda County Chief Assistant District Attorney Kevin Dunleavy and Union City Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci were expected to attend.
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