Video Series Asks for Tips to Solve Homicide Cases

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)..

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. Cordell has spent more time and money soliciting complaints against police officers than she has with this sanctimonious attempt to justify her existence in San Jose.

    Any patron on a VTA bus or light rail, and any resident who receives a San Jose Water bill is more likely to see prominent advertising and receive information on how to complain about the police as opposed to a request for information to help solve a murder.

    In addition, Cordell regularly conducts presentations at San Jose high schools “educating” the future pillars of our community on how to complain about the police. Interestingly, there is no concentrated effort to solicit crime solving information at these same schools.

    And a question to consider: If the Police Department has lost 30 percent of its personnel! and arrests are down by over 50 percent, why hasn’t the Office of the Police Auditor had its personnel and budget reduced to correspond accordingly?

    Consider that.

    • In the strange and ironic world that our Council operates in, they give a raise to the IPO for the reduced complaints about PD misconduct, overlooking the real reason for the decline in complaints. 

      At some point, the truth behind the real reason for these misguided pension reform measures will come out in the public, forcing the council to swing the pendulum back to the other side and scramble to make CSJ a more attractive place to work.  Salary restoration is one part of that equation.  And at least for PD, removing this IPO would be the other part. After Reed, there is no other more polarizing figure than the IPO.  And it shouldn’t be that way.