When 17-year-old Anthony Santa Cruz was stabbed to death at 21st and Julian streets, at least 30 people witnessed the attack. But nearly a year later, still no one has come forward with enough information about the suspects to lead to an arrest.
“It was broad daylight, school was just getting out, a VTA bus passed by,” says Elsa Lopez, Santa Cruz’s mother. “People saw what happened. Lots of people saw. But no one’s saying anything.”
The bereaved mother hopes a new video campaign launched by the San Jose Police Department and Independent Police Auditor LaDoris Cordell will help convince someone who knows something about the case to come forward. “Make the Call, San Jose” first aired on CreaTV in November with an episode in which Cordell interviews Lopez and the uncle of 20-year-old Justin Watkins, another murder victim whose case has gone cold.
SJPD and Cordell plan to air at least another 10 shows for victims’ families to share and spread the word that police need the public’s help to solve these murders. By interviewing the families, Cordell hopes to convey the emotional pain these crimes have exacted.
Both victims profiled in the inaugural “Make the Call” episode were young fathers. Santa Cruz was trying to cut gang ties and work harder in school to make a better life for his young son. Watkins, who was gunned down on his way home from a shift at GameStop, just a few days shy of his 21st birthday, had moved to California to make a better life for himself and his 1-year-old daughter.
“No one should get away with murder,” Cordell says. “We’re fighting against this no-snitch mentality. Hopefully, if more people see how these people are hurting, they will call in with information to help us solve these cases.”
Since the audience for public access TV is small, Cordell wants the videos to go viral in the community. Lopez re-shares it on her Facebook page every week. And Cordell is going around to various community groups to play it and encourage people to repost it on social media.
To anonymously report a tip about one of these unsolved homicides, call Crimestoppers at 408.947.STOP (7867)..