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November 26, 2004

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Publication Date: Friday, November 26, 2004

Police turn spotlight on murder Police turn spotlight on murder (November 26, 2004)

Victim's mother begs killer to turn himself in

By Julie O'Shea

It's been three months since 17-year-old Alejandro "Alex" Fernandez was gunned down along Rengstorff Avenue, and police still have no significant leads in the case and are turning the public for help.

While officers spent last Friday canvassing the Mountain View neighborhood where the murder occurred with new fliers, Alex's mother, Edith Fernandez, went before reporters and television cameras to tearfully ask "Why?"

"This person needs to be honest for what they did. They need to be in jail but even in jail, it doesn't make up for taking Alex's life," Edith Fernandez, speaking through a Spanish translator, said of her son's killer. "Now is the time to be brave or courageous and for him or them to turn themselves in, because he not only killed Alex, but he killed me in life."

Alex, a junior at Los Altos High School, and two friends were walking down Rengstorff Avenue near Latham Street on Sept. 24, when a car slowed down, and someone from inside opened fire. Alex was shot once in his chest and once in his lower body. He was later declared dead at Stanford Hospital.

Police think the shooting, Mountain View's only homicide this year, may have been gang-related but are hesitant to say for sure. It has been reported that Alex was a member of the Surenos gang and that a member of a rival Mexican-American gang, the Nortenos, may have been responsible for the murder. Police have declined to comment on these rumors.

Police spokesperson Jim Bennett said officers have received numerous tips in the case, but so far, none of them have panned out.

Edith Fernandez said she doesn't understand why her son's life ended so senselessly.

"He wasn't even supposed to go out that night. A friend called him," his mother said, her voice cracking. "There was a moment when Alex slipped, but that doesn't mean he was involved with gangs. He had friends, but I can't judge them based on what I see or how they appear.

"As a mother, I know that what occurred was not as a result of gangs," Edith added.

The only concrete piece of evidence police have been willing to share with the public is a description of the alleged suspect's car -- a red or burgundy Honda Accord, Honda Civic or Dodge Stratus with tinted side windows and chrome wheels.

But despite the lack of clues, Bennett said, "the investigation has kept going at the same speed." There are two full-time detectives on the case, and Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information that could lead to an arrest.

Bennett said he is not sure how long it will take to bring Alex's killer to justice. In the meantime, all Edith Fernandez can do is sit and wait and pray for justice.

Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the Mountain View police tip line at 570-8211. People can also call Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-STOP. @email:E-mail Julie O'Shea at

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