Pellet gun victim's father grateful SJPD arrested suspect

Thursday, Santa Clara County prosecutors and San Jose police revealed more details in the arrest of a man charged in multiple pellet gun attacks in the South Bay.

Officials said Nicholas Montoya, 38, targeted is victims in what they called domestic terrorism.

"What he did was disgraceful, and disgusting," said Robert Lara.

He said his daughter, Marisol Elena, may live with permanent scars from a pellet gun attack.

Lara detailed how his nine-year-old was walking with her mom up a flight of stairs at their West San Jose apartment, when she was shot in the back by a high-powered pellet gun.

The girl is one of seven victims stretching over a two-month period.

"These were not childish pranks, with a low-powered weapon. These were deliberate, snipe-attacks," said Santa Clara County Supervising District Attorney Marisa McKeown.

Wednesday, San Jose police arrested Montoya. They said he targeted victims, ranging in age from nine to 56, using two high-powered pellet guns with scopes attachments.

They said his actions were designed to terrorize the community, though his motive is still a mystery.

"He was very calculated in how he carried out these attacks," said Capt. Jason Dwyer of the San Jose Police Department investigations unit. "Our biggest fear, of the taskforce…was that this person was going to score a headshot on somebody, and kill them."

No one was killed, but in some cases, doctors decided it was too dangerous to try to remove the pellet from a victim’s body.

"It had collapsed my lung, fractured a rib…and it almost hit my heart," shooting victim Gianna Vitarelli said back in Jun. Added Lara, speaking Thursday about his own daughter, "The pellet traveled down to near her pelvic bone. The physicians were unable to remove the pellet."

An amalgamation of city and county investigators used forensic and video evidence, coupled with witness statements to track Montoya’s vehicle, and ultimately arrest him after two months.

"We threw the kitchen sink at this case," said Capt. Dwyer.

Robert Lara says his daughter is in good spirits, and is preparing to start school in the coming weeks. A retired U.S. Navy vet, he’s thankful police investigators caught Montoya, before he did..

"I do believe in the process of the law. And I do believe there is a due process that must be done," he said. Added Chief Anthony Mata of the San Jose Police Dept., "My hope is by the arrest and subsequent prosecution of this individual, we can restore the community’s sense of safety."

Montoya is charged with seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and assault causing great bodily injury.

He’s being held without bail, and will be in Santa Clara Superior Court at 9 a.m. Sept. 14 to enter a plea.

Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on Twitter @JesseKTVU and Instagram @jessegontv