BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A Kern County jury found a man guilty Thursday in the 2019 murder of a rival gang member in East Bakersfield, according to the Kern County District Attorney's Office.
Israel Chuca was convicted of one count of first-degree murder committed in furtherance of a street gang and an additional count of premeditated, attempted murder.
Chuca faces life in prison without the possibility of parole because of the gang-related special circumstance added to the first-degree murder conviction. His sentencing is scheduled for April 20th.
According to court documents, Chuca, a member of the “Colonia Bakers” street gang, drove down Niles Avenue in East Bakersfield on Aug. 2nd, 2019, past two people walking in the opposite direction. Chuca made a U-turn, got out of his car, and confronted them. According to court documents, he pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and shot one man, who was a member of a rival street gang, in the head and chest killing him. Chuca also shot another man near the waist and that man survived.
“Gang violence will not be tolerated in our county. Despite recent legislative changes that have clearly been designed to benefit gang members, we will continue to prosecute gang violence to the fullest extent of the law to ensure justice and safety to communities that suffer from gang violence,” said District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer in a statement.