BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Kern County jury has convicted a man of all charges, including first-degree murder, in the shooting death of a rival gang member in 2017.
Angel Gonzales, 27, was found guilty Tuesday and faces life without parole at his February sentencing. Judge Gregory A. Pulskamp found several aggravating circumstances true and also found true that Gonzales had a prior strike offense for a 2016 robbery, prosecutors said.
“Sentences for gang-related murder reflect that it is among the most serious violent crimes recognized under the law,” District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer said in a news release. “Gang members that commit murder in furtherance of gang activity will face the highest sentences possible, including life in prison without the possibility of parole.”
Late April 19, 2017, Gonzales and other members of the Uptown Bakers street gang had a house party in northeast Bakersfield. One of the gang members left to buy blunt wraps from a convenience store at Mt. Vernon Avenue and Columbus Street and became involved in an argument with rival gang member Jonathan Canchola during which they flashed gang signs at each other, according to prosecutors and court documents.
Others partygoers were called to the scene and assaulted Canchola, stabbing him twice, prosecutors said. Canchola was staggering backward when Gonzales, who arrived wearing a ski mask, walked up and shot him in the chest, killing him, according to the release.
Gonzales fled and wasn’t arrested until December 2018. In October of that year, a witness who had been at the party and who was in custody in connection with an unrelated shooting identified the gunman as someone nicknamed “Savage,” according to court documents. Investigators learned that’s a name used by Gonzales. Another witness also said Gonzales was the shooter.