Two years after a jury convicted him of shooting a 15-year-old girl in the chest with a sawed-off shotgun, a Costa Mesa gang member has been sentenced to 40 years to life in prison, authorities said.
Salvador Burciaga, 24, was the fourth defendant to be sentenced in connection with the shooting. He was convicted of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and enhancements for gun use, being an active participant in a street gang and committing a felony for the benefit of a gang, according to a news release.
His sentencing was delayed until January of this year because defense attorneys kept requesting continuances, said Orange County district attorney's office spokeswoman Farrah Emami.
Burciaga, also known as "Stalker" and "Sal," was convicted of pulling the trigger about 6:30 p.m. July 28, 2008, in the 700 block of Shalimar Drive in Costa Mesa.
Witnesses said a car made a U-turn on Wallace Avenue where it dead ends on Shalimar Drive. Burciaga jumped out with a shotgun and ran over to a group of teenagers who had just finished playing basketball.
Wearing a blue bandana across his face, he yelled a common gang challenge, "Where are you from?" as he pulled the trigger on the shotgun, wounding the girl.
While running back to a waiting car, Burciaga dropped a hat that read, "World's Greatest Grandpa," which carried his DNA, Deputy Dist. Atty. James Page said during closing arguments in 2012.
Police also recovered surveillance video from a nearby Kmart that showed Burciaga and fellow gang members Cesar Pedroza, Nestor Lopez and Oscar Ramos buying the hat as well as other items from the store just before the shooting, according to a news release.
An Old English-style tattoo with the initials "LT," a reference to Costa Mesa's Varrio Little Town gang, could also be seen in images from the surveillance tapes shown to jurors during the trial.
Pedroza, 23, the suspected driver of the getaway car, was sentenced to 50 years to life for attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and sentencing enhancements for being an active participant in a street gang, committing a felony for the benefit of a gang and for gun use, the release stated.
Ramos, 20, was convicted of attempted murder with enhancements for being an active participant in a street gang and committing a felony for the benefit of a gang. Lopez, 21, was convicted of attempted murder with enhancements for gun use, being an active participant in a street gang and committing a felony for the benefit of a gang.
They both pleaded guilty, which allowed them to avoid jury trial. Ramos is serving his 15-year sentence in Donovan state prison. Lopez is serving his 20-year sentence in Wasco state prison, the release stated.
Pedroza and Burciaga are serving their sentences in Wasco state prison. They are both appealing their convictions, according to the news release.