Two men were arrested this week on suspicion of murder in connection with the shooting death of a 13-year-old Modesto girl in May.
Brisa Covarrubias was shot May 30 in front of her home in the 1600 block of Pelton Avenue. Her 15-year-old brother tried to shield her from the shooter and was also hit. The two teens were taken to a hospital, where Brisa was pronounced dead.
On Tuesday, Modesto police served search warrants at four locations in Modesto and Empire. Emilio Silva, 19, and Juan Carlos Cruz, 24, were arrested then and have been charged with murder, attempted murder and participating in a criminal street gang.
Modesto police and the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office served five more search warrants Thursday morning at homes in west Modesto and one home in Waterford. Police were looking for evidence and additional suspects connected to the case, although police spokeswoman Heather Graves said Silva and Cruz are the primary suspects.
SWAT teams from both agencies served the warrants, using a loudspeaker to call out the occupants. Several people were detained during the searches but it was unknown early Thursday afternoon if any additional arrests were made.
Silva and Cruz made their first court appearance Thursday afternoon during which their arraignment was continued until Monday. They are being held at the downtown jail without bail.
Because they face a special circumstance for committing a crime for the benefit of a street gang, the two could face the death penalty or life without parole. Prosecutors have not decided yet if they’ll seek the death penalty.
Brisa’s family said the teens were shot by a man who pulled up in a Chevrolet pickup and asked them, “Do you bang?” – asking whether they were in a gang. The teens said “no,” but the man starting shooting, according to a family member.