SAN JOSE -- Police have teamed with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office to offer $20,000 rewards for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of suspects in two homicides in 2013.
Investigators believe the unsolved killings of 17-year-old Anthony Daniel Santa Cruz near San Jose High School and the shooting death of 20-year-old Justin Watkins in South San Jose are unrelated. Both victims were young fathers working to turn their lives around.
Police and the DA's office are offering $20,000 rewards in each case. It is the first time in recent history that the San Jose Police Department and district attorney's office have pooled financial resources to offer such a reward.
"I want to thank the D.A.'s Office and the Mayor's Office for assisting in these reward efforts," police Chief Larry Esquivel said in a statement. "These families and our community need closure. Hopefully this reward money will help us solve these senseless homicides."
On Feb. 13, 2013, Santa Cruz was stabbed to death near N. 21st and Julian streets in the afternoon right after classes ended for the day. Police believe there are two suspects and believe the fatal attack was gang motivated.
Several people witnessed the stabbing but could not identify the attackers, according to police.
Santa Cruz was a student at San Jose High and played on the school's football team in 2012.
Watkins was shot to death on May 26, 2013, at about 10:11 p.m. on Hayes Avenue. Watkins had just worked the closing shift at GameStop in Westfield Oakridge mall on the Memorial Day weekend and was walking home when he was shot. He was days away from celebrating his 21st birthday.
"Police Chief Larry Esquivel and I will never accept that any homicide will remain unsolved," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. "We will make every effort to bring those who bring bloodshed into our safe community to justice. Today we are asking for the public to join us in that resolve, and help us solve two killings."
Persons with information regarding these cases are urged to contact Detective Sgt. Stewart Davies or Detective Wayne Smith in the San Jose Police Department's homicide unit at 408-277-5283.
Contact Mark Gomez at 408-920-5869. Follow him at Twitter.com/markmgomez.