Man arrested in Christmas slaying

A Redwood City man who allegedly shot and killed one man and injured another last Christmas in East Palo Alto has been arrested.
Valentino Gallegos, 37, died of multiple shotgun wounds and Gerardo Hernandez, 20, was injured after being shot by 23-year old Francisco Javier Mendoza at a home in Cooley Avenue, according to East Palo Alto police.

Mendoza was arrested Monday following a very brief struggle at the corner of University and Woodland avenues in East Palo Alto, according to Detective Jeff Liu.

Margarita Ortega, mother of Mendoza's children, was also arrested for allegedly “harboring a fugitive,” according to Liu.

One of the shooting victims was “picking on” Mendoza in front of a market two hours before the shooting, less than a block away from the crime, according to Liu.

“Our suspect fled, he ran away from the fight and came back a couple hours later with a firearm and shot both of the victims,” Liu said.

The weapon was not recovered, but Liu said it was either a small rifle or a sawn-off rifle.

“We had a break in the case – we had a couple calls that kind of broke it open,” Liu said.

Mendoza and Ortega are expected to arraigned Thursday.

jupton@sfexaminer.com

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