A Mountain View man has pleaded no contest to a felony gun charge in connection to a 2021 shooting incident at Rengstorff Park that injured two people. Police say the incident was gang related.
Reynaldo Medina, 21, now faces sentencing in Santa Clara County Superior Court for one felony count of reckless discharge of a firearm and two misdemeanors for battery and carrying a loaded firearm in public, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Depending on the judge’s sentencing, Medina could serve between 90 and 180 days in county jail and three years of formal probation. He is also eligible for an "in custody and out of custody jail alternative” and “subject to standard probation terms and conditions associated with gang offenses,” the prosecutor’s office said in an emailed statement. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 20.
The incident occurred in the early afternoon on Sept. 15, 2021. One of the victims said he came to the park and saw Medina by the basketball court and, after greeting him, Medina had pulled out a gun, according to court documents. The victim told police in a statement that he attributed the hostility to their different gang affiliations.
Two of the victim's friends noticed the commotion and ran over to help, according to the investigation. Medina then hit the victim on the head with the handgun, causing a large gash. As Medina ran away, the other men chased him across the basketball court.
Medina then stopped, turned around and fired a single shot, according to a bystander who was sitting near the basketball court with her young son. The bullet hit one of the men chasing after Medina in the leg. Medina ran towards the Park Vista apartments, and the other men ran in the opposite direction, the bystander said.
When police arrived on the scene, they spoke with the victims and witnesses who provided descriptions of Medina. The first victim had recognized Medina from an earlier incident, in which several gang members had fired at his car the previous month, he said.
Medina was arrested the next day without incident when he came to the Mountain View police department to retrieve his dog, which had been reported stolen earlier in the week, police said.
For Mothers Against Murder, a nonprofit victim’s advocacy group based in Los Altos, the plea bargain is too little, too late. “It took two years to conclude. So back and forth, wasting public resources on law enforcement, millions of dollars, when there’s a way to be efficient,” said Margaret Petros, executive director of the group.
Petros found the delays particularly perplexing given the high degree of cooperation that occurred in the investigation of the shooting. Case documents show that police officers spoke with Medina, two injured victims and several bystanders who witnessed the event. Their statements confirm the basic details of the shooting.
Following the arrest, Medina arranged for the police to recover the handgun, which he had left with a friend for safekeeping. The report described the gun as “a polymer 80 style homemade .40 caliber handgun loaded with four brass-colored .40 caliber rounds in the magazine.” After the shooting, a police officer found a shell casing for a .40 bullet on the basketball court about 30 feet from where the mother was sitting with her son on the grass.
When questioned by the police, Medina said he fired the gun towards the ground as a scare tactic to deter the men from chasing him, adding that he did not intend to hurt anyone. Medina also claimed that one of the men chasing him had a gun in his waistband, which he flashed when he lifted up his shirt. Although the police never found this person, a jogger in the park said he saw the altercation from a distance, and it appeared another man had a gun as well, according to the report.
The candidness of the testimonies from the suspect, victims and eyewitnesses is unusual for gang-related cases, Petros said, whose organization often helps victims affected by gang violence, including gang members. But despite the evidence, the case still dragged in court with a rotating cast of prosecutors and six different judges presiding over the hearings.
The judge rescheduled the last hearing, which was held on Sept. 1, because there were some questions about the details of the plea deal, and the assigned prosecutor was not present to answer them, according to Petros.
“As a community, I think we can reduce these cases by all being aware of what's happening and holding the system accountable,” she said, adding that the California Victims’ Bill of Rights Act, known as Marsy’s Law, is supposed to make the legal process more transparent.
Medina is out of jail on a $75,000 bond, according to court records.