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Murder suspect held to answer

An information arraignment has been ordered for a suspect in a fatal June shooting.

According to Madera County District Attorney David A. Linn, Andrew Chavez, 21, of Madera, was ordered by Madera County Superior Court Judge James Oakley to return to court on Sept. 12, following a preliminary hearing that was held Tuesday.

“This office will always act quickly to keep the streets of Madera safe,” Linn said.

Chavez and his alleged accomplice, Adam Diaz, 24, were arrested for the fatal shooting of Michael Sanchez, 35, of Los Banos.

According to Madera Police Lt. Brian Esteves, the shooting, which occurred at 11th Street and Gateway Drive on June 26, was gang-related, and was the result of a case of mistaken identity.

“Apparently, he was wearing the wrong colors, of the rival gang,” Esteves said.

Despite colors he was wearing, however, Sanchez was actually a member of the same gang as Diaz and Chavez..

Sanchez, who was in town to visit family, was believed to be walking home from Mr. D’s Bar & Grill when he passed 427 S. Gateway Drive. It was during the walk that Chavez reportedly opened fire, shooting multiple rounds, of which only one struck Sanchez, killing him. Sanchez’s body was found several hours later in the parking lot where he had died.

Chavez was arrested by officers of the Special Investigations Unit on June 29 in the Bolero Parking Lot on Yosemite Avenue.

“We tracked him in a vehicle, and made sure we had plenty of officers, and took him down,” Esteves said.

Diaz was arrested on Aug. 5 at a traffic stop in the 1500 block of Cleveland Avenue, 41 days after the shooting took place. Diaz reportedly acted as the getaway driver for Chavez.

“He was aware of what was going to happen. He was not the trigger man, but was just as implicit in the killing,” Madera Police Sgt. Josiah Arnold said. “Hundreds, if not thousands of hours went into this investigation.”

Both Chavez, and Diaz could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.


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