Alleged gang members charged in freeway shooting of 5-year-old targeted wrong vehicle

The suspects charged in a freeway shooting that claimed the life of a 5-year-old girl in Fremont targeted the wrong vehicle, authorities said.

District Attorney Pamela Price said the three suspects, alleged Sureño gang members, thought they were shooting at a rival gang on the night of April 8 when they fired into a car on Interstate 880, killing little Eliyanah.


Family friend speaks about freeway shooting that took 5-year-old girl's life

The family was heading to a birthday celebration on southbound I-880 near the Dixon Landing exit when gun shots rang out. Ashley, who has known Eliyanah’s mother for nearly a decade, says the family is devastated.

The suspects, identified as Humberto Anaya, Kristo Ayala Valderrama and Emmanuel Sarango, flashed gang symbols before purposely firing into the car filled with Eliyanah and five other people, authorities said.

Eliyanah was sitting next to her brother, when the bullet pierced through her heart.

Eliyanah and her family were on their way to a family birthday dinner when tragedy struck.

The suspects were driving a red Honda Accord at the time of the deadly shooting and that vehicle was later located in Santa Cruz, where they were caught and arrested, the California Highway Patrol said.

The three suspects were charged with murder and shooting at an occupied vehicle. 

At a press conference on Monday, Price said they face 45 years to life behind bars.

Authorities also said 15 minutes before the killing of Eliyanah, the suspects were involved in another shooting in Fremont. 

Prosecutors said a man was walking on Fremont Boulevard when suspect vehicle, the red Honda Accord, drove by. One of the occupants commented on the red clothing the man was wearing, authorities said. Then two suspects got out of the car and one of them shot at the man as he ran away, prosecutors said. The victim as not injured.

Prosecutors believe Anaya, Valderrama, Sarango were involved in that incident. For their alleged roles in that shooting, they were charged with felony assault with a semiautomatic firearm.