Gang Member Sentenced to Life in Prison for Series of Murders and Attempted Murders in Baldwin Park

A judge sentenced a 26-year-old gang member to life in prison without the possibility of parole Friday for orchestrating a series of two deadly shootings, two other shootings and a stabbing in Baldwin Park in 2013, authorities said.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury convicted Ulises Jose Gutierrez of Baldwin Park in September of two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Paul Eakins.

The jury also found true the special allegation of multiple murders, that he was an active gang member, that the crimes were gang-related, that he personally used a gun, that he personally used a knife and that he caused great bodily injury.

Five other men have also been convicted for their roles in the attacks, which took place between May and October of 2013, Eakins said in a written statement. Three have already been sentenced, and the other two are scheduled to be sentenced in the coming weeks.

  • Francisco Moran, 31, of Baldwin Park was sentenced to 82 years to life in prison in July of 2018 after being convicted of murder and attempted murder, officials said.
  • Gustavo Cruz, 29, of El Monte was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison in October after being convicted of murder. Additionally, he waived credit for six years already served in jail.
  • Arturo Mendoza, 28, of Baldwin Park received a 21 year prison sentence in October after being convicted of voluntary manslaughter. He, too, waived credit for six years already served behind bars.
  • Johnny Balbuena, 24, of Baldwin Park is expected to be sentenced to 50 years to life in prison Tuesday after he was convicted of murder, prosecutors said.
  • Elton Bennett, 25, of Baldwin Park faces up to 80 years to life in prison at a sentencing hearing scheduled for December 12. He was convicted of two counts of attempted murder.

“The defendants, under Gutierrez’s leadership, targeted people they believed to be associated with a rival gang or otherwise opposed to them, according to court testimony,” Eakins said.

The violent rampage began on May 24, 2013, he said. Cruz and Mendoza confronted 22-year-old Raymond Vasquez along Maine Avenue.

“A second vehicle driven by Balbuena arrived moments later, and Gutierrez got out and fatally shot Vasquez with an AK-47 assault rifle,” Eakins said.

Gutierrez then shot and wounded a teenage boy on June 21, officials said.

Bennet opened fire in a Baldwin Park neighborhood on June 22, apparently missing his intended target and instead wounding an innocent bystander who was standing in front of his home, prosecutors said.

Gutierrez and Moran were responsible for another shooting on July 19 at a bus stop at Los Angeles Street and Merced Avenue, authorities said. The men approached Maurio Sotelo, 20, before Moran shot him to death with a handgun.

“Earlier that night, Gutierrez and Moran approached a man walking on a sidewalk in a residential area and Gutierrez shot and wounded him,” according to Eakins.

Gutierrez also stabbed a woman with a knife on Oct. 2, officials said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigators found and arrested Gutierrez in connection with the violence on Jan. 16, 2014, county booking records show.

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