GILROY, Calif. - The Santa Clara County District Attorney on Wednesday announced prosecutors would not file charges against a 19-year-old arrested in connection with the shooting death of a man outside the home of a Gilroy councilwoman.
The DA's Office noted that the lack of charges was "pending further investigation" and that it was possible charges could be filed, or not, in the future.
On Saturday afternoon, a 19-year-old man who is related to the councilwoman was taken into custody after the shooting death of Michael Daniel Zuniga Macias. Three others were injured in that late-night Halloween shooting in the 400 block of Las Animas where Gilroy City Councilmember Rebeca Armendariz lives. It's unclear if she was home at the time.
Manuel Macias, a great-uncle of the victim said of the released suspect, "I have compassion for you, but if you're not willing to step up and be a man…" He said the man needs to fully explain what happened.
"Be a man," he said. "Supposedly a lot of shooting happened where somebody disrespected you. Be a man. Pulling out a gun and shooting someone unarmed is not a man."
He said the victim had tried to step in after two groups of people got into an argument at the party.
"Michael starts to separate them, and that's when the bullets started flying," Manuel Macias said.
The victims’ ages range from 17 to 19 years, authorities said.
On Sunday, investigators spent part of the afternoon searching through a large field near where the councilwoman lives, but they wouldn't say what they were looking for.
KTVU legal analyst Michael Cardoza said a possible complication in the case is that self-defense could be involved. But he said whoever fired first could face charges.
"If the other person who was defending themselves fired and killed the victim in this case, the aggressor still would be liable, because he started this," Cardoza said
Armendariz said in a statement on Saturday that she was unable to share details because of the active police investigation. She said in the statement that she and her family are cooperating with police.
"I am thankful that my family and I ... were not hurt in this tragedy, and I pray for those whose loved ones have been touched by what has occurred," she said.
A man who didn't want to be identified says he works across the street from the shooting and wasn't surprised by what happened.
He spoke in general terms about the area.
"It's kind of like there's always something," he said. "There's a late-night fight or there are issues where the police need to be called out there's some type of assault or garbage being dumped or cars parked illegally, there's always sketchy stuff that's kind of going on around here."
The councilwoman was elected to the council in 2020 and has reportedly spent years advocating for working-class families.