Gang member accused in killing

first_imgWHITTIER – A man who said he witnessed the shooting death of a 17-year-old boy in Santa Fe Springs last year testified at a preliminary hearing Monday that the victim was stabbed several times minutes before being shot in the face. George Banuelos, 25, of Santa Fe Springs was arrested last year and charged with murder in the death of Andrew Joseph Salinas on May 14. Investigators said the shooting happened at a post-prom party. Banuelos, who remains held on a $2 million bail, was ordered after the hearing in Whittier Court to stand trial for Salinas’ slaying. Under questioning from Deputy District Attorney Doug Herring, witness Juan Cardenas, 18, pointed across the courtroom at Banuelos as the alleged shooter and stared at him for several seconds. Cardenas said he was attending a party of about 100 people at the 11500 block of Joslin Street in Santa Fe Springs when a fight broke out in the back yard. After hearing yelling and the “sounds of fighting,” he said he ran out back to see what was going on. As he exited the back door into the yard, Cardenas said he heard two shots, which dispersed most of the partygoers. Cardenas said he then saw his friend Salinas in the back corner of the yard “all shooken up, bleeding and huddled up” with blood on his shirt. When Cardenas ran to him, Salinas said, “I’ve been stabbed,” Cardenas testified. Cardenas said he helped Salinas make it through a gate and down the driveway to the front of the house. As they rounded the corner of the house, Banuelos allegedly aimed a gun at the two of them. Cardenas jumped out of the way and hid behind a car, with Salinas close behind him, he said. That was when Banuelos allegedly shot Salinas in the face, Cardenas testified. Defense attorney Craig Purcell tried to poke holes in Cardenas’s testimony, at one point ordering him to draw a map of the house with the location of all the people involved in relation to each other. Banuelos is known by police as a gang member whose nickname is “Stalker,” according to police documents. Los Angeles County Superior Court records show he was convicted of battery in a domestic violence incident in September 2005. Whittier Court Commissioner Gerald Mansfield ordered Banuelos to return to court March 26 for an arraignment in Norwalk Court. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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