News

Four more arrested in connection to arson fire

The Mountain View Police Department arrested four more juveniles in its ongoing investigation of the drug- and alcohol-fueled parties and subsequent arson fire that destroyed a house on Fordham Way last month.

While the residents of the house were away on vacation, students from nearby high schools and a local college hosted parties with drugs and alcohol for over a week. On March 16, three juveniles allegedly started a fire in the house; the two-alarm fire severely damaged the house.

Since the initial arrests of 12 juveniles and two adults, four more juveniles were arrested as of March 31 a total of 18 arrests on charges including arson, burglary, vehicle theft, drug possession and child endangerment.

The two adults, Brandon Pak and Gilbert Gomes, were arrested by Mountain View police late last month on charges of burglary and child endangerment. Pak also faces charges of providing marijuana to juveniles.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office hadn't yet filed charges against Pak and Gomes as of April 15, and the case is still under review, according to Deputy DA Brian Welch.

The DA's office dropped the original charges made against Pak and Gomes; Deputy DA Sumerle Davis said the information she was given at the time was not enough to charge either Pak or Gomes with child endangerment or burglary.

The Mountain View Fire Department did not have a cost estimate on the damage done to the house, according to Jaime Garrett, Mountain View fire spokeswoman. Garrett said the family is not able to live in the house, and that the house needs to be rebuilt.

The police department conducted a joint investigation with the Santa Clara County Fire Investigation Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that led to the 18 arrests. The investigation now in the hands of the DA's office, according to Sgt. Saul Jaeger of the police department.

Police are still looking for more information about the parties leading up to the fire, and encourage people with a tip to call 650-903-6344. Anonymous tips can also be sent via text to 274637; include "mvtips" in the body of the message.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Old Dave
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 16, 2014 at 6:01 pm

"The DA's office dropped the original charges made against Pak and Gomes;....."
Noticed how that part never made the headlines....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by frustrated
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Apr 16, 2014 at 9:14 pm

The parties with drugs and alcohol went on for over a week. What a sad commentary on our lives. Someone's neighbors go away on vacation, and no one notices 18 different teenagers coming and going from their neighbor's home. Are we really all that busy? I can speak with complete confidence when I say that my neighbors and I always look out for each other. There is no way a party would go unnoticed - and I am so grateful for that. This should serve as an enormous wake-up call to all of us to look out for one another.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Their neighbour
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 17, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Well, not all the 18 kids showed up at the same party. They had 3-4 kids showed up at one time and parked far away and walked to the house on fire. If anyone noticed, I am sure this will be reported. The articles on MV Voice has really not stated real events and have been causing confusions in the community. And the policemen have not really interviewed the neighbours either,how did they know there were loud party going on and unnoticed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Their neighbour
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 17, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Well, not all the 18 kids showed up at the same party. They had 3-4 kids showed up at one time and parked far away and walked to the house on fire. If anyone noticed, I am sure this will be reported. The articles on MV Voice has really not stated real events and have been causing confusions in the community. And the policemen have not really interviewed the neighbours either,how did they know there were loud party going on and unnoticed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Their neighbour
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 17, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Well, not all the 18 kids showed up at the same party. They had 3-4 kids showed up at one time and parked far away and walked to the house on fire. If anyone noticed, I am sure this will be reported. The articles on MV Voice has really not stated real events and have been causing confusions in the community. And the policemen have not really interviewed the neighbours either,how did they know there were loud party going on and unnoticed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jay Park
a resident of Jackson Park
on Apr 17, 2014 at 4:24 pm

@Their neighbor:

Comments in previous articles have indicated that the neighbors did not know there was a party going on: the kids weren't loud which is why they had parties at the house on consecutive weekends. The main reason the party was discovered was the fire on the second weekend. The neighbors did not call the police about a "loud party" -- they called about the fire.

Note that the MV Voice doesn't know what happened at the party.

The police investigated the incidents, but since none of the attendees were allowed to be on the property, the police are forced to interview suspects, probably dropping charges if the subject is willing to testify in a court of law.

There's a good chance that this is why no additional adults have been charged (some Foothill College students alleged attended) and why charges have been dropped for the two adults (Pak and Gomes). The District Attorney will likely prioritize testimony from an adult versus a juvenile.

Note that whatever the MV police/SCC Fire Protection Task Force/ATF investigators learned isn't automatically handed to the media. The findings may be used by the District Attorney's office to continue to build the case against some/all of the charged suspects and could be used to charge additional people. Revealing all the details may jeopardize admissibility of the testimony as court evidence.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jay Park
a resident of Jackson Park
on Apr 17, 2014 at 4:24 pm

@Their neighbor:

Comments in previous articles have indicated that the neighbors did not know there was a party going on: the kids weren't loud which is why they had parties at the house on consecutive weekends. The main reason the party was discovered was the fire on the second weekend. The neighbors did not call the police about a "loud party" -- they called about the fire.

Note that the MV Voice doesn't know what happened at the party.

The police investigated the incidents, but since none of the attendees were allowed to be on the property, the police are forced to interview suspects, probably dropping charges if the subject is willing to testify in a court of law.

There's a good chance that this is why no additional adults have been charged (some Foothill College students alleged attended) and why charges have been dropped for the two adults (Pak and Gomes). The District Attorney will likely prioritize testimony from an adult versus a juvenile.

Note that whatever the MV police/SCC Fire Protection Task Force/ATF investigators learned isn't automatically handed to the media. The findings may be used by the District Attorney's office to continue to build the case against some/all of the charged suspects and could be used to charge additional people. Revealing all the details may jeopardize admissibility of the testimony as court evidence.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Their Neighbour
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 23, 2014 at 4:30 pm

The ABC news 20/20 just came by the neighbourhood of house fire and interviewed the neighbours and police investigation team. It will be aired on 20/20 next Friday, 10 ET on May 2.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bummer Man
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2014 at 3:32 pm

I heard Pak and Gomes snitched everyone out......Nice Guy's Karma!!!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Their Neighbour
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 2, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Here is ABC news report, the last content will be about the house fire, let's see if the mountain view house fire makes into the national news, the interviewed police officers 1.5 weeks ago for the show:

Web Link


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