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Family member of Oceano murder victim speaks out as suspects appear in court

Posted at 11:40 AM, Aug 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-20 21:38:30-04

UPDATE (4:57 p.m.) - A family member of the victim killed during a homicide in Oceano is speaking out for the first time about the investigation.

Maria Rodriguez, the older sister of Daniel Fuentes Sr., and nearly a dozen other family members and friends showed up to the arraignment of the three men facing charges in the homicide case on Tuesday morning.

She says she plans to come to every court session in support of her late brother.

"I'm going to be here in support of my brother," said Rodriguez. "Just because he's not here. I want justice first and foremost. I want to feel safe. I want my family to feel safe. I want his kids to feel safe. I want the community to feel safe."

Rodriguez also says she plans to look at this case as a moment of growth as opposed to a negative time.

"It's just something we have to deal with and move forward. Hopefully, this will be the start to me and my family healing and moving on without my brother," said Rodriguez.

The three men connected to the homicide are expected to appear in court sometime next month.

(11:40 a.m.) - Family and friends of a man shot and killed earlier this year in Oceano were in a San Luis Obispo courtroom Tuesday morning for the arraignment of the three men now charged in connection with his murder.

Robert Joseph Garay, 28, Gabriel Luis Garay, 21, and Nathaniel Alexander Jara, 21, are being held in San Luis Obispo County Jail without bail on suspicion of murder and participation in a criminal street gang.

Nearly a dozen friends and family of Daniel Fuentes Sr. were in court wearing T-shirts with the 41-year-old's name on it. Family of the suspects were also in court.

It was the suspects' first court appearance since charges were filed against them late Monday afternoon. They did not enter pleas.

Fuentes Sr. was shot in Oceano just before midnight on April 2, according to a probable cause statement by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office.

The statement alleges that the three suspects, who are reportedly members of the Oceano 13 gang, saw Fuentes riding a bike in the area of 22nd and Ocean streets that night. Jara was reportedly the driver and turned around after spotting Fuentes.

The sheriff's office says all three then got out of the vehicle and ran after Fuentes where he was shot multiple times by Robert Garay.

Sheriff's officials say Fuentes ran to a neighbor's home on the 2200 block of Beach Street and died after knocking on the door to ask for help.

Sheriff Ian Parkinson said during a press conference Monday morning that Fuentes Sr. had been previously associated with gang members but was not currently a member of a gang. He said he couldn't discuss a motive for the murder at this time but said the shooting was gang-related.

The criminal complaint filed against the three suspects includes special allegations of intentional discharge of a firearm and great bodily injury along with a street terrorism enhancement. The complaint alleges the murder was "willful, deliberate, and premeditated" and "carried out to further the activities of the [Oceano 13] criminal street gang."

The three men are due back in court next month.