Two men from Livermore face first-degree murder and gun charges, as well as potential enhancements for prior convictions, in the wake of the shooting death of another local man at the Motel 6 in town in what police said appears to have been a gang-related killing last weekend.
Phe N. Phan, 27, and Ronnie Ray Martinez Jr., 29, were booked into the Santa Rita Jail after being arrested in Tracy on Saturday evening, according to Livermore police Sgt. Steve Goard. The Alameda County District Attorney's Office filed formal charges against both men on Tuesday.
Court documents identified the victim as Emilio Molina, 24, of Livermore.
Martinez and Phan were arraigned in court on Wednesday morning, but entry-of-plea was pushed out until next month, according to the DA's office. It was not immediately clear whether the two defendants are represented by attorneys yet.
Livermore Police Department officers responded to the Motel 6 just off the freeway on Lassen Road after receiving multiple calls reporting that a shooting had occurred there around 11:55 p.m. Friday. Officers arrived to find a 24-year-old man on the ground outside a motel room with a life-threatening gunshot wound, according to Goard.
Molina was transported to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, where he succumbed to his injuries at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, authorities said. An online fundraiser created this week to support Molina's family said he was the father of three children.
"LPD detectives responded to the scene and took over the investigation, quickly developing and following up on leads," Goard said.
Security footage showed an Asian man and a Hispanic man walking together in the Motel 6 parking lot at 11:54 p.m. Friday, Det. Brittney England wrote in a probable cause statement. The detective said she was able to identify Phan and Martinez as the two men in the video based on knowledge of their appearances and previous investigations.
England alleged the video showed Martinez and Phan, both armed with guns, reach the staircase in front of the Motel 6 lobby and fire multiple gunshots toward Molina who was outdoors. The Livermore man was hit at least one time, with the bullet wound to his back proving fatal.
The shooters fled the scene, but detectives were able to determine that their prime suspects were in Tracy on Saturday. At around 5:45 p.m. that day the Livermore police tactical team and Tracy Police Department apprehended Phan and Martinez and placed them under arrest on suspicion of murder, according to Goard.
The circumstances of what led up to the shooting remain unclear.
"All indications point to this being a gang-related event. We can't say for sure they knew each other personally. As for what occurred prior, at this point, we do not know," Goard told the Weekly.
The DA's office charged Martinez and Phan on Tuesday with first-degree murder and a special allegation of firing a gun with the intent of inflicting great bodily injury. If convicted, both men would face sentence enhancements based on prior convictions five including assault, gun and drug counts for Martinez and three for assaults and criminal threats for Phan, according to prosecutors.
The defendants are scheduled to enter pleas to the charges in court on June 2.
A GoFundMe page created to raise money for funeral costs and Molina's three children had generated just over $5,000 in donations, as of noon Wednesday.
The investigation into the shooting remains ongoing, and anyone with information on the case can contact the Livermore PD tip line at 925-371-4790, Goard said. Callers can stay anonymous.