A reputed gang member was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for gunning down a 19-year-old man as he visited the site where he friend was slain two weeks prior.
In court, Esequiel Cisneros flipped off the cameras and otherwise showed no other emotion as his sentencing was handed down.
Cisneros had been convicted of fatally shooting Gregorio Gonzalez on May 29, 2012.
“I have a great feeling of victory. Gregorio will never come back to us, but this is settled,” the victim’s uncle said outside the courtroom. “We can move forward from here. We have great memories with him and we love him dearly.”
That May morning in 2012, three friends were visiting a memorial for their friend, 21-year-old Michael Espino in a cul-de-sac on Lenore Avenue.
Prosecutors said Cisneros approached Gonzalez and his friends and asked, "West Side?" They said no, and Cisneros opened fire, killing Gonzalez and wounding the two others.
During trial, Cisneros threatened one of the witnesses and the next day, the witness' house was covered in gang graffiti, prosecutors said, adding that Tuesday’s sentencing “sends a message.”
“If you’re gonna commit murder in this county, be prepared to suffer the consequences because we’re not gonna forget our victims and we’re not gonna let gangs control our neighborhoods,” San Bernardino Deputy District Attorney Denise Yoakum said.
The month Gonzalez and his friend were killed, the city of San Bernardino had a record-high 12 homicides.
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