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Attempted Murder Charges Dropped for Suspected Gang Shooter

Case dismissed in the "interests of justice," district attorney says.

The man suspected of shooting at two rival gang members in Half Moon Bay last October has been cleared of all charges due to insufficient evidence, the San Mateo County District Attorney's office announced this week.

Jose Rafael Monroy Casillas, a known member of the Sureños street gang in Half Moon Bay, had been charged with two counts of attempted murder in connection with a that took place on Willow Avenue during the evening of Oct. 7, 2011. The incident involved the shooting of a man in the chest as as well as several attempts to shoot at a woman unsuccessfully.

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said that as his prosecutor and attorneys moved forward with the case against Casillas, they were not able to substantiate what he described as "very shaky identifications" by the two witnesses at the scene of the incident.

"One of the two witnesses backed off the identification she gave at the beginning and the identification from the other witness was always tentative at best," he said. "Without additional evidence or witnesses, we concluded the case would not be successful in court."

"Unfortunately, unless additional evidence is forthcoming, the case will be closed," Wagstaffe said. 

On Aug. 14, 2011, Casillas was shot in the foot in a which took place in Half Moon Bay's Arleta Park neighborhood. Another man was shot in the chest, and survived.

County prosecutors are charging suspect Half Moon Bay Norteño gang member Christian Serrano deLeon with three counts of attempted murder in connection with the August incident, as they allege that deLeon shot at a third man before leaving the scene on a bicycle. DeLeon is scheduled to appear in court on Monday for a preliminary hearing at 9 a.m.

"At this point it appears [deLeon's case] is going to proceed to a hearing," Wagstaffe said.

Wagstaffe reported that Casillas was released from county custody on March 29 at 8:50 p.m.

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