On the evening of March 5, 2005, Jonathan Hernandez was shot 17 times in the head, shoulder and chest at close range, while attending a party at the Moose Lodge on Ocean Park Boulevard at 16th Street in Santa Monica. Hector Bonilla, 25, ran to help Hernandez, and before he could reach his friend, he was felled by multiple shots to the head.
By the time Santa Monica police officers arrived at the scene, both Hernandez and Bonilla were dead, and the killer, or killers, had fled the scene of the grisly murders.
Police estimated that over two dozen shots had been fired. Although eye-witness accounts were hard to come by at first, detectives felt strongly that the crime must have been committed by more than one person – there were just too many bullets spent in too short of a time.
SMPD led an investigation, but leads were few, and it looked as though the shooters might never be identified.
But on July 29, SMPD detectives presented a completed investigation to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. After review, the D.A. filed charges and issued felony arrest warrants for three suspects in connection with the murder of Hector Bonilla and Jonathan Hernandez.
According to SMPD Public Information Officer Lt. Frank Fabrega, “The investigation was made up of many different pieces of information, including evidence collected at the scene and witnesses’ statements of identification.”
One suspect, Jose Mojaro, 21, is now in custody. The two others remain at-large.
All three suspects are members of the 18th Street gang in Los Angeles.
Santa Monica police identified the two outstanding suspects as William Vasquez, a.k.a. “Crook,” 25, of Los Angeles and Ector Hugo Sanchez, 20, a.k.a. “Enemy,” of Los Angeles, who has also used the name Eric Nunez.
The three have been charged with two counts of murder, with special circumstances: gang enhancements, use of firearms during a gang crime (which mandate a sentence of Life without Parole or the Death Penalty), as well as Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
Although two of the suspects have not been apprehended, now that the D.A. has filed charges, “The warrants [for Vasquez and Sanchez] are now on the national database,” Fabrega said, “That way, if one of them gets stopped for speeding in Colorado, for instance, his name will come up.”
Meanwhile, Mojaro, who is being held in Los Angeles County Jail, awaits a date for a preliminary hearing of the state’s case against him.Police ask anyone with additional information regarding the crime or the suspects to contact the Robbery-Homicide Unit of the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8451. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can use the We-Tip national hotline at 1 (800) 78-CRIME (27463).