Gilroy Council Member Cited for Role in Fatal Halloween Party

Gilroy City Councilwoman Rebecca Armandries violated a number of city regulations when she helped organize a Halloween event at her home in 2021 that ended in one person being shot and three others injured, an investigation concluded.

On April 11, the Gilroy municipality released the findings from the San Francisco law firm Hanson Bridget LLP, which was hired by the municipality to investigate the events that took place at Armandries’ residence on Las Animas Avenue on October 29 and 30.

On the evening of October 29 and the next morning, a big party was held outside at Armandries’ house. Shortly before 1 p.m., Oct. 30, police responded to reports of gunfire at the party.

Police arrived and determined that four people were shot during a brawl. His death was determined at the scene was 18-year-old Michael Daniel Zoniga-Macias. Three other victims – between 17 and 19 – were wounded by gunfire.

In addition to Armandries, Augustina (Sally) Armandries, Benjamin Calderon and Domingo Armandries were also found in violation of the Social Hosts Ordinance and for not purchasing a permit for an event involving alcohol that attracted about 100 people, many of them. There were teens, according to the report.

The city of Gilroy issued 10 citations to Armandries, while Sally Armandries, Benjamin Calderon and Domingo Armandries issued four each.

The researcher publishes findings

The six-month investigation concluded that Armandries violated the hosts’ social responsibility ordinance of the city, which imposes liability on older or landowner hosts if they “knowingly allow such loud or rebellious gatherings to take place in their premises, in their homes or in rented facilities where alcoholics, drinks are served.” Consumed by or in the possession of minors. “

In interviews with Armandries, investigators said Armandries told them that her nephew, 19-year-old Benjamin Calderon, was planning a party for his friends and co-workers at home. Armandries reportedly said she was opposed to the party, citing Covid-19’s concerns and dislike of having parties at home, but said it was a decision by her mother, Augustina (Sally) Armandries, who owns the property.

According to the report, Armandries said she did not help plan the party, but provided her nephew and son Domingo with the phone number for the Forte-Potty rental, and the number for the vacant lot opposite, which is Calderon. Wanted to use for overflowing parking.

The owner of the vacant property, whose name is written in the report, emailed Armandries an indemnity agreement, which she forwarded to Domingo so he could sign it.

The report also found that Armandries had violated permit requirements for the city’s special events by failing to obtain approval for the Halloween party, and also for using barricades issued in the city, which were only authorized for the Dia de los Mortos event at Horlein Court in downtown on October 30.

A request for public records from Gilroy’s representative supported these findings, and showed that no permits had been submitted for the event for a party on Las Animas Avenue. Armandries, meanwhile, applied for a permit on October 18 for the Dia de los Muartos event in the city center.

Armandries, according to the report, said the city staff “originally told her she could rent the checkpoints,” but on Oct. 29, said the checkpoints were in a city yard, and that it would be “easier” for Armandries to “just” ask them, and come pick them up, because The request was quite last-minute. “

A friend of Armandries picked up the checkpoints and dropped them off in her parking lot on Las Animas Avenue, the report said. Armandries reportedly said she did not pass the checkpoints herself during the eve of the party, believing her nephew placed them between the front and back house during installation.

The report stated that Armandries obtained the checkpoints for “legitimate reasons” for a downtown event, but apparently allowed them to be used by her son and niece for a “convenience” party.

Investigators said Armandries told them she did not ask for permission to party because it was not her incident.

The investigator stated in the report that Armandries’ description of her involvement in the party was “unreliable” and said that her statements that she did not know the scope of the party at the time it was occurring were “unreasonable”.

Armandries also “did not fully cooperate with the investigation,” the investigator noted, stating that she “refused to answer certain questions regarding the incident on the advice of her attorney.”

The report challenged allegations that Armandries had ordered the unauthorized closure of Las Animas Avenue.

Mayor Gilroy responds

Armandries told Gilroy Dispatch on Monday morning that she was working on a statement in response to the report.

In a statement, Mayor Marie Blankley said it was “heartbreaking” to hear from Zoniga-Macias’ family, who appeared at many city council meetings demanding that Armandries resign.

“To clarify, Rebecca Armandriz’s involvement in this incident has nothing to do with the scope of her role as a city council member,” Blankley said. “In such circumstances, in the absence of a criminal conviction, only voters have the authority to remove a councilor from office, or otherwise ‘do anything’ in the actions of a councilor who fall outside the scope and scope of their elected office. A council member who is in no way related to his fitness as a council member. “

The city of Gilroy has been sued in two civil lawsuits, one from Zoniga-Macias’ family and another from a shooting victim who is now sick four, according to Blankley. The council discussed the allegations during a closed-door session on April 4th.

She added that the independent administrative investigation cost the city $ 47,000 and “hundreds of staff hours.”

“The city has no obligation to protect Rebecca Armandries herself,” Blankley said. “Instead, it is our duty in this matter to protect the people of Gilroy from lawsuits without justice or connection to the city, enforce our municipal regulations and seek evidence and testimony that will lead to the full prosecution of the shooters.”

There are no charges yet

To date, no suspect or suspects have been charged with crime in relation to the death of Zuniga-Macias or the injury of the other victims of the shooting.

Gilroy police arrested Calderon on Oct. 31 for his alleged involvement in the shooting, but he was released after the Santa Clara County Attorney’s Office refused to file an indictment against him. The district attorney’s office said the charges against Calderon require further investigation.

In November, Gilroy police filed search warrants at several houses in Gilroy in connection with the October 30 shooting, and arrested Lucas James Tomasti for illegal possession of a firearm, police said. Tomasti has since been charged with possession of a firearm by a former young offender and possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, according to authorities.

Gilroy police said they think two shooters were involved in the Oct. 30 confrontation.

Michael Moore contributed to this report.

Gilroy Council Member Cited for Role in Fatal Halloween Party Source link Gilroy Council Member Cited for Role in Fatal Halloween Party

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