On the street the 26-year-old resident of San Jose, California, was known as “Silencer.” He is a member of the Varrio Tami Lee Gangsters (VTG), a Sureño street gang in San Jose.
Members of the VTG gang are allied with members of another Sureño gang in San Jose, Varrio Colonias Trece (Colonias). The united Colonias/VTG Gang engage in crimes such as robbery, narcotics trafficking, and murder. Among other acts of violence, members of the Colonias/VTG Gang sought to attack and kill members of rival Norteño gangs.
Got all that? OK, let’s proceed.
Rival gang members
On the afternoon of August 13, 2012, on Denair Avenue near Letitia Street in San Jose, Silencer and two others were cruising around in a car “hunting” for rival Norteño gang members in retaliation for Norteños spray painting graffiti in the Colonias/VTG Gang’s territory.
Silencer spotted a young Latino man he did not know standing in a driveway and believed the young man was a Norteño based on his appearance. Silencer directed his driver to turn the car around and pull up next to the young man. He then got out of the vehicle carrying a loaded .38 caliber revolver and fired two shots at the victim from close range, striking him once in the head.
The victim, who died two days later, was not a Norteño gang member. He was simply standing alone in his own driveway after having just arrived home with his girlfriend from the veterinarian’s office where they had taken their sick dog.
Sentenced to 38 years
Silencer’s real name is Victor Manuel Rodriguez. He was arrested and pleaded guilty in March 2014. Early in 2015, he was sentenced to 38 years in prison for murder and distribution of methamphetamine.
“While this sentence cannot relieve the pain and loss suffered by the victim’s family, it is my hope that it will at least lend them some measure of comfort, knowing that one of the perpetrators of this crime will spend over three decades in jail,” said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. “This office will devote as many resources as necessary to partner with local and federal law enforcement agencies, which are tirelessly working to rid this community of the senseless violence perpetrated by gang members.”