Police found 16-year-old’s body after 911 call
REDWOOD CITY — A 16-year-old was gunned down in front of an apartment complex Wednesday night in a fatal echo of a murder that marked the peak of last summer’s gang violence.
Jesus Casteneda, 16, was identified Thursday as the local teen fatally shot the night before, as friends who just learned of his death mourned his loss.
Sequoia Union High School trustee Don Gibson said he was informed of the shooting death on Thursday, and knew only that Casteneda, a Redwood City resident, was a student at Sequoia High School.
A 911 call reporting a shooting came in to the police 10:47 p.m. Wednesday, Det. Jeff Price said in a statement.
Police arrived at the apartment building at 596 Chestnut St. and found Casteneda’s body on the floor with a bullet wound in his chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Witnesses told police that Casteneda was visiting a resident in one of the units and was shot when he opened the door to leave the home, according to Price.
The crime scene on Thursday afternoon bore few reminders of the previous night’s events, the only giveaways being a short line of yellow police tape and two mourning friends somberly perched on the stairs of the building where Casteneda was killed.
The two friends, who asked to remain anonymous, said only that it was a tough day.
“It’s too hard to talk about him right now,” one friend said.
The killing was a grim reminder of another one last August, in which another 16-year-old was gunned down in front of a home in Redwood City. Victor Barajas, also a Redwood City resident, succumbed to several gunshots to the chest in a gang-related shooting at 611 Heller St.
That shooting marked the peak of a summer of gang violence in Redwood City and prompted an outcry among residents that continued through last November’s City Council election.
Several public meetings were held and law enforcement conducted a countywide gang crackdown, with an emphasis on the South County, in response to the violence.
Efforts to address the problem are continuing, with a workshop including police, school officials and the Police Athletic League scheduled for Nov. 15 and 16 to help parents identify signs of gang affiliation or membership early, Mayor Barbara Pierce said. The workshop will be conducted in English and Spanish.
“It’s an ongoing concern,” said Pierce, who was informed of Castaneda’s death the next day. “We’re trying to do things that are preventative, like after-school programs and sports leagues, to prevent tragedies like these from happening.”
Police detectives did not return phone calls Thursday seeking further comment on Casteneda’s death. No suspects were in custody as of yesterday afternoon.
Police ask that anyone with more information call Detectives Neal or Price at (650) 780-7605 or at (650) 780-7677.