The suspects, two of whom are juveniles, were all acquaintances of Omar Aquino, 24, and some of them knew his sister Teresa Sanchez-Aquino, 28, police said. Both were shot to death their home on the 1900 block of Plymouth Avenue in the early hours of Saturday, June 28. Sanchez-Aquino's 8-year-old son slept in another room as the shootings took place.
Detectives believe robbery was one of the original motives, and the suspects stayed in the house "for an extended period of time," police said. Police would not comment on whether all seven suspects had entered the house, but said all were in the area at the time of the killings.
"The house was ransacked," said Sergeant Ken Leal, who is heading the case. "[The suspects] spent quite a bit of time there."
Although no drugs or drug paraphernalia was found in the house following the murders, police believe drug and gang activity may have led to the killings. A handgun was the primary weapon, and police say it is still missing.
"Omar was definitely the primary target," said Leal. "It is unfortunate Teresa was a victim."
Last Thursday, Aug. 21, police arrested three suspects: Victoria Frances Thompson, 20, of Morgan Hill; Nicory Marquis Spann, 18, of San Jose; and a 15-year-old girl whose name is being withheld because she is a minor. Thompson is charged with conspiracy to commit murder, and Spann and the girl are charged with two counts each of murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Police took San Jose resident Michael David Adams, 20, into custody on Friday, Aug. 22 for violation of probation, and later charged him with two counts of murder and conspiracy.
Police also have warrants out for Campbell resident Kenneth Ivory Thomas, 20, and Kim Pham, a 19-year-old from San Jose or Morgan Hill, for two counts each of murder and conspiracy to murder.
Police are also seeking a 17-year-old suspect for conspiracy to commit murder, but her information also is being withheld because she is a minor. Police said the suspects still at large are considered "armed and dangerous," since the handgun is still missing.
Though they lived in different parts of the Bay Area, all the suspects were "connected socially" to each other and to Aquino, and some knew Aquino-Sanchez, police said.
"Usually in a homicide, you don't get this number of people involved," Leal said. "Never in my career have I seen a case like this."
A Santa Clara judge sealed all the information on the case, and police could not answer questions about the detectives' work or questions about details of the murder.
"This is such a sensitive investigation and there are so many players involved. We cannot risk jeopardizing the case," police spokesperson Liz Wylie wrote in an e-mail to the Voice.
The murders shocked residents of Mountain View, none more than the neighbors on Plymouth Avenue, who called the brother and sister quiet, responsible people who never showed any sign of trouble. Aquino-Sanchez' son is now with family members.
Neighbors have said they heard shots coming from the small pink house on Plymouth at around 5 a.m. on June 28. About an hour before the murders, a 911 call for help was made from Aquino-Sanchez' cell phone, but because the two lived close to the freeway, the call was transferred to routed to the California Highway Patrol in Vallejo. It was disconnected before being transferred to Mountain View, and police were unable to trace it in time.
Police said there were no immediate witnesses to the murders, and little information to go on. They say they have primarily relied on information from Aquino's past to crack the case.