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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 15, 2018

Salinas Resident Charged With Attempted Murder And Related Crimes In Salinas Gang Case

SAN JOSE - A federal grand jury indicted Kristopher Purcell, aka “K-Dawg,” charging him with two counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering; two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering; and one count of use of a firearm during and in relation to, or possession in furtherance of, a crime of violence, announced United States Attorney Alex G. Tse and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.  

The indictment was filed October 11, 2018, and was unsealed earlier today.  According to the indictment, Purcell, age 20, of Salinas, is accused of attempting to murder two victims on Orchard Avenue in Salinas, on February 12, 2017, in an attempt to enhance his status with the Nuestra Familia prison gang and its subservient Norteno street gangs.  The indictment describes how Norteno gang members earn promotion and prestige by proving themselves through the commission of criminal activities, including acts of violence such as murder and attempted murder.  In fact, according to the indictment, a Norteno gang member is expected to “hunt” – that is, seek out and beat, stab, or shoot – any rivals.  

Further, Purcell is charged with two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon as a result of the same February 12, 2017 shooting.  The fifth charge in the indictment relates to Purcell’s alleged use of a firearm during the attack.  In sum, Purcell is charged with two counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(5); two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(3); and one count of use of a firearm during and in relation to, or possession in furtherance of, a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c).

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  

If convicted of either count of attempted murder, Purcell faces a maximum prison term of 10 years and a maximum fine of $250,000.  If convicted of either count of assault with a dangerous weapon, Purcell faces a maximum prison term of 20 years and a maximum fine of $250,000.  If convicted of the firearm offense, Purcell faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum prison term of life in prison, to run consecutive to any other sentence imposed in this case.  The firearms offense also carries a maximum fine of $250,000.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.  

Purcell made an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen.  He remains in custody and is next scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Virginia K. DeMarchi for a hearing to determine whether he will be detained pending disposition of this case.

The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI, with assistance from the California Highway Patrol and the Salinas Police Department.  

Members of the public who have information regarding gang-related activities are encouraged to contact FBI San Francisco Division at 415-553-7400.
 

Updated October 16, 2018