April 1, 2009 > First Homicides of 2009
First Homicides of 2009
By Simon Wong
Union City has seen two homicides in less than a week.
Reports of a shooting cast a pall over the Council Meeting on March 24. A group of young men and women gathered outside City Hall and in the foyer and comforted each other in stunned silence.
According to an official statement from Union City Police Department (UCPD), "at 2034 hours, the Union City Police Department received a '911' call from 3814 Horner St. The caller reported that a person had been shot. Several police units responded and located two victims and witnesses. It was learned that some adult males were in the garage of the Horner St home. An unknown male, dressed in black clothing and wearing a hooded sweatshirt, walked up on the sidewalk and fired several rounds from a handgun at the group striking two men. The suspect fled on foot towards Fredi St.
"One of the adult males, a 19 year old Hayward resident, received non-life threatening injuries and was transported to a Bay Area hospital. The other victim received fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Deceased is Conrado Justin Barba, 04-29-1987, of 3814 Horner St. We are not releasing the names of the witnesses or the other victim at this time."
Barba's friends made their way to City Hall where Mayor Mark Green was in session. Mayor Green has coached many young people in the City including the deceased and was subdued as he left Council Chambers.
Sources close to the deceased state he was well-known and respected throughout the community and did not have a police record.
"Viable leads are being pursued by investigators. As for a City-wide strategy for youth violence prevention and intervention, it's difficult to say if such a program would have been applicable to this case. We're trying to establish a motive," said Union City Police Chief Greg Stewart. "This is the first homicide of 2009 and, hopefully, the last," he remarked on Wednesday.
Less than a week later, the City's second homicide occurred.
"On March 29, 2009, at 0715 hours, the UCPD received a 'Cellular 911' call from a pedestrian in Arroyo Park (35199 Perry Road). The caller reported that a man was in the park bleeding. Several police units responded and located the victim who was unresponsive and had visible gunshot wounds. Emergency medical personnel arrived and pronounced the male deceased," stated UCPD. The victim is 23 year old Rodney J. Green of Fremont.
"We are interviewing people who might have heard or seen anything related to this incident and are following leads. I would say that a connection between the two homicides is 'not probable.' A motive has yet to be determined," said Lt. Musgrove, UCPD.
"People think this sort of thing is confined to the Decoto part of town. This proves otherwise," said a citizen, who wishes to remain anonymous.
In 2007, Union City had five homicides, three in Decoto and two in Old Alvarado. In 2008, there were three, all in the Decoto District.
Anyone with information related to either case is encouraged to call the Union City Police Department's Investigations Unit on 510-471-1365. If you wish to use the tip line, please call 510-675-5207 or E-mail information to firstname.lastname@example.org