Collision Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Murder

A two-car crash at 21st St. and South Van Ness Ave. on Jan. 1 left two people dead.

En Español.

David Morales, the 19-year-old suspect involved in a deadly two-car collision on New Year’s day, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts of murder and other charges. The collision happened at 21st Street and South Van Ness Avenue Jan. 1 at about 7:45 a.m. and left two people dead.

“He’s not a callous person,” said Deputy Public Defender Stephen Olmo, who is defending Morales. “This was a tragic accident. He is upset over the whole matter.”

Morales is being charged with two murders, three attempted murders, evading an officer, causing bodily harm, participation in a gang, and being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun. Morales faces multiple life terms and over 200 years in prison if convicted.

Bail was set at $10 million for the murder charges, but because he violated his felony probation, Morales is currently being held without bail.

District Attorney George Gascón has described Morales as a known Norteño gang member who is on felony probation for a gang-related charge in San Mateo County in April 2012.

“We are prosecuting this case to the fullest extent because I have no tolerance for violence. Innocent bystanders were killed because of the reckless actions of a young man who is a known gang member,” said Gascón in a statement. “We are losing too many people in our city because of gang violence. I’d like to implore upon parents to take a more active role with your children to ensure they are on a successful path to life.”

Olmo offered his condolences to the families of the two victims who were killed in the accident, but said that it was “over-reaching” to charge Morales with murder in what was a “tragic accident.”

Morales wore an orange jumpsuit with his hands cuffed behind his back as he quietly pleaded not guilty. Olmo said Morales sustained injuries to his neck in the accident and he is still concerned with his client’s health.

Morales was driving at high speed on South Van Ness Avenue on New Year’s day when his vehicle struck a white Toyota sedan, which in turn crashed into a pedestrian and Muzio’s Wine Liquor store at the corner of 21st Street and South Van Ness Avenue. Silvia Tun Cun, 29, the passenger in the Toyota, and the pedestrian Francisco Gutierrez, 26, were killed in the collision. The 18-year-old driver of the Toyota was critically injured.

Police said that Morales was evading officers, who attempted a traffic stop after Morales shot at three people at Valencia Gardens that morning. No one was injured in the shooting.

Assistant District Attorney John Ullom is prosecuting the case.

Morales waived his right to a preliminary hearing to be scheduled within 10 days. He will next appear in court on January 29.

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  1. ramona

    not a tragic “accident”, but a tragic act of misconduct with two deadly weapons, a gun and a car.

  2. SafeStreets

    “He’s not a callous person,” but he did think it reasonable to shoot at three people and try to kill them. Attempting to kill 3 people sure feels callous to me.

    • I agree. Just because he killed two other people instead of his intended targets does not make his acts causing death an accident. In my opinion, the killings occurred during a commission of a crime still in progress because perpetrator was evading police for the earlier shootings. I feel awful for the victims being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      • Mrs. Sheppard

        I also agree. Those people were killed during the commission of a crime in progress. Tragic yes. Accident, not so much.

  3. Pamela

    Two people would be alive today if SF actively cracked down on all the gang members living in our city. Mr Morales should never have been released the 1st time around with all the crimes he has committed. At 19 he ruined his & everyone involved life forever. I’m sick & tired of all the violence. Probably the 3 people from Valencia Gardens also have records as long as one’s arm.

  4. John Doe

    It’s funny how everyone on this site condemns gang affiliates as soulless evil doers, who are worthless wastes of life, when in reality there are gang members who are productive members of society, young men and women who, despite their affiliations are good people. Just because someone belongs to a gang that they were raised around, doesn’t mean that they’re violent criminals…. you’d be surprised at who some of these people are, and until people learn to quit being so prejudice and ignorant, nothing will change…..

    • turnemout

      In my book, if you are a member of an organized crime syndicate responsible for murder, rape, robbery, extortion, racketeering, etc., you are complicit in its actions. I don’t care how “productive” an individual may be away from their gang life, they are participants in a known criminal enterprise and should be removed from society, period.

  5. John Doe

    On a side note, I in no way condone the actions of this individual, it has nothing to do with my previous statement. Furthermore I believe that law enforcement and the media unfairly group Norteños as this “large-scale criminal enterprise”, while in fact many Norteños or Northerners, are just local native chicanos who take pride in their land and disagree with the tyranny and terrorist tactics of the Surenos/mexican mafia who are really the menaces around here.

  6. Unknown

    While I dont condone his actions, killing those two people was an accident, I know the suspect personally and can honestly tell you he is not a bad kid, he just made a very bad decision that morning. He is a very happy go lucky young man always laughing and smiling who is NOT a gang member and is a legal resident of the US his criminal record is not long as alot of you think, and he has TWO jobs and was able to purchase that car on his own. Just because people live in a certain area of the city doesnt make them a gang member, nor does it make him a bad person.

    • Ben

      Man, I hate it when my drive-by goes wrong and I end up killing up total strangers instead. Happens to the best of us, right?

    • turnemout

      Wow. Just. Wow. Why don’t you try giving that spiel to the families of the deceased?

      Sorry, but the suspect is SCUM. I don’t care about his two jobs or that he purchased his car on his own. He fled police and ran two red lights that led to the deaths of two innocent people. And I won’t even go into his attempted drive-by shooting or his gang affiliation (which various media outlets have reported on).

    • Blurpy

      Are you his public defender? Nice try.

  7. dont trip

    I wish mission local would really stop removing my comments on this hahaha.. free David Morales miss you my homie.. n to everyone dat wiahes nothing but bad on him you can hang yourself punks

  8. Gee

    Free my brother David morales !
    We miss you homie!

  9. youknowme

    free nug banga

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