Two men sentenced for 2014 Salinas murder

SALINAS, Calif. - Two Salinas Sureno gang members have been sentenced to lengthy terms in prison for their participation in the June 8, 2014 murder of 18-year-old Daniel Castillo.

Castillo was just days from graduating from a Salinas High School, and was walking through La Paz Middle School with a friend when a group of Sureno gang members spotted them. 20-year-old Agustine Lopez of Salinas, got out of a vehicle driven by 26-year-old Rene Vasquez, also of Salinas. Official say both were active Sureno street gang members at the time and remain so to this day.

Lopez approached Castillo and fired six rounds into his body. He then ran to Vasquez’s waiting car and they sped off to the nearby apartment of another Sureno gang member, where they hid from police.

Castillo died at the hospital that afternoon. At Vasquez’s request his girlfriend, Karen Rodriguez, reported Vasquez’s vehicle stolen just after the murder, to aide him in evading apprehension.

Determined police work over the course of the next year led to the eventual arrests of Lopez and Vasquez. Lopez pled guilty to first degree murder and admitted firing a gun causing great bodily injury as well as a gang enhancement. He was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.

Vasquez pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter, admitted a prior strike offense, a prior serious felony conviction and a gang enhancement, as well as another unrelated firearms offense and participation in a jail gang attack and was sentenced to 39 years and 4 months in prison.

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