Two suspects in the 1998 shooting spree in which Anthony Juarez and Michael Juarez were killed and two others severely injured have this past week been identified and charged with murder. The shootings took place October 27, 1998 at the Westside Clothing store in the 2200 block of Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica.
Evidence recovered at the crime scene was recently processed with current DNA technology, sent to the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Forensics Services DNA Laboratory and entered into its databank of known offenders. The samples submitted were matched with two convicted felons who are both currently serving prison sentences in the California penitentiary system on unrelated charges.
The two suspects have been identified as David “Puppet” Robles, from Lennox, California, and Jessie “Psycho” Garcia, from Los Angeles, each 29 years of age; Robles and Garcia are cousins.
Police Chief James T. Butts, Jr. said, “We have fulfilled our promise to the parents and family of Anthony and Michael Juarez to be relentless in bringing the murderers of these innocent young men to justice. It is our hope that the solution of this crime brings some measure of peace to the family.” He notified the family by telephone of the identification and charges.
Mayor Robert Holbrook, who was also mayor at the time of the 1998 shooting, told the Mirror that he had personally followed up on the case during the intervening years, and had asked to join Chief Butts on the phone call to the victims’ family.
Robles’ criminal past, according to police, includes attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and weapons violations, and he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in February 2001. Also according to police, Garcia’s criminal past includes burglary, auto theft and narcotics violations, and he was convicted of carjacking and assault with a deadly weapon with a firearm causing great bodily injury in May 1999. Both are now in state prison, and each has admitted to, and is documented as, participating in criminal street gangs in the Los Angeles area.
On April 14, Santa Monica Police detectives presented the investigation to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office for review, and it was decided that both suspects would be charged with two counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances (multiple murders), two counts of attempted murder, four counts of personal use of a firearm and four counts of participating in a street gang and committing the crime in furtherance of the gang.