A fatal hit-and-run in San Jose, California, will be recorded as the seventh homicide of 2014 in the Silicon Valley city of 980,000 according to San Jose police who say the killing resulted from a brawl at the city’s Capitol Flea Market.
Police originally failed to realize that the flea market brawl and the hit-and-run death were connected, and they marked the tragedy down as a traffic accident. But when they got the full story, they realized they had another murder on their docket.
Eric Vallejo, a 23-year-old San Jose school custodian was beaten, stabbed, then run over by a car and died at the corner of Snell Avenue and Capitol Expressway, where the fight spilled over after security guards kicked the brawlers out of the San Jose flea market.
The incident began at Capitol Flea Market in San Jose around 3 pm on Sunday afternoon, when two groups of individuals confronted each other in the flea market, which though near closing time, was still jammed with Sunday afternoon bargain hunters. Why the two opposing groups were fighting remains unclear.
There were reportedly about a dozen men involved in the melee, but security officers were able to expel them from the flea market grounds. The two groups continued to brawl, taking their fist fight into the San Jose streets.
At one point during the brawl, someone got into a car and drove into a crowd, running over Vallejo and also striking another man. That other man made his way to a hospital about five miles away where he was treated for his injuries. Another man was with him, suffering from stab wounds.
Both men are expected to survive.
Whether those two men were acquainted with Eric Vallejo is not yet known by San Jose police.
“He was a good guy, he had a good job,” said a cousin of the San Jose hit and run fatality, Eliana Del Real. “He was taking care of his family. He got into trouble here and there but nothing bad you know?”
Police Officer Albert Morales called the total of seven murders just 47 days into the new year an unacceptably high rate for San Jose.
“There doesn’t appear to be any type of pattern,” The San Jose cop said. “These homicides are happening all over the board, all over the city.”