Gang member to stand trial for Palo Alto triple shooting

An admitted Mountain View gang member could face life in prison when he faces trial on charges he shot three people, one a pregnant woman, over a drug dispute in East Palo Alto in December, a San Mateo County prosecutor said today.

Cruz Magana Valencia, 22, was held to answer by a San Mateo County Superior Court judge this morning on three counts of attempted murder with an enhancement for criminal street gang activity, and the use of a firearm resulting in great bodily injury, Deputy District Attorney Joe Cannon said.

He will be arraigned in superior court on Sept. 5 to set a trial date.

On the night of Dec. 22, Valencia and two other men allegedly burst into the home of a 23-year-old pregnant woman, her boyfriend and a male roommate on West Bayshore Road, according to East Palo Alto police.

Valencia then allegedly shot all three, reportedly in retaliation for an argument over a large amount of methamphetamine, according to Cannon.

One of the male victims is a former member of a rival gang, Cannon said.

All three shooting victims were hospitalized and survived, as did the woman's unborn child, which was only days old. During an earlier portion of Valencia's preliminary hearing on July 19, the woman testified that she was due to have her child on Aug. 13.

Though Valencia does not currently face charges regarding the unborn fetus, he could still face up to 75 years to life in prison if convicted, Cannon said.

Valencia, who according to Cannon is also facing charges for a series of robberies in Santa Clara County, remains in custody on a no-bail status in San Mateo County Jail.

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