ONTARIO – When police found Xavier A. Jimenez just after midnight, he lay in the backyard of a northwest Ontario home, losing blood.
Jimenez, 31, had been shot four times and police within hours arrested a Caldwell man with a history of gang involvement.
At the time of the Oct. 9 shooting, authorities released few details and no identities, saying only that a shooting had taken place, the victim was in the hospital, and there was no danger to the public.
Police and court records show that at the time of the late-night violence, Jimenez was wanted by the police for violating his probation for an earlier drug conviction.
His suspected assailant, Adam A. Gomez, 32, of Caldwell, has been convicted time after time since his teen years, including for his role in a Nyssa-based street gang that led to his imprisonment in 2012.
A review of police and court records show that agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had been investigating Gomez. Within hours of the shooting, Gomez was arrested in Caldwell, charged with illegal possession of a gun in a case unrelated to the shooting.
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State and local police won’t discuss the shooting because their investigation is continuing.
The relationship between Jimenez and Gomez isn’t clear. Jimenez remains hospitalized.
Gangs remain a persistent problem in Ontario.
Ontario Police Chief Steven Romero characterized gang activity as more of a concern than a problem. However, gang activity, while latent, is steadily growing, and requires closer monitoring, Romero said.
“I was informed that the case is believed to be gang related but not necessarily rival gang related,” Romero said. “It appears that the suspect and victim may know each other and may have history together, but the depth of that relationship is still under investigation.”
According to court records, Gomez was a member of a violent street gang formed in Nyssa in the early 1990s called Brown Magic Clica, also known as East Side BMC or just BMC.
Along with BMC, the 18th Street Gang and the Norteños gang remain active in Ontario. Police said previously that BMC has the biggest footprint in Ontario with more than 100 people in its ranks.
According to a federal court filing in 2012, BMC was “a violent street and prison gang that was responsible for murder, numerous attempted murders, stabbings, distribution of controlled substances, trafficking in firearms, theft, arson, intimidation and property destruction.”
Federal prosecutors moved against the gang in 2011 following a three-year investigation called “Operation Black Magic” that ranged across Idaho and Oregon. An indictment named 30 people, including suspected gang members in Nyssa, Ontario and Vale.
At the time, Gomez, also known as “Lil Toro,” was in an Idaho state prison, serving a sentence on state charges. He later admitted that he continued to participate in BMC from prison and subsequently pleaded guilty to racketeering for his gang role.
According to the indictment, Gomez in 2008 wrote to a gang member about “individuals who have cooperated with law enforcement against BMC members,” wrote another gang member about burning down a Fruitland night club, and in 2009 called another gang member “to order two juvenile BMC members to commit arson” at the club. He also wrote a gang member about efforts he had made “to influence and intimidate one witness.”
Federal prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo in 2012 that Gomez’s “involvement was over a prolonged period of time, although he has only participated in the gang while in prison. The defendant has admitted to committing numerous crimes to further the gang, including solicitation of a minor to commit arson and obstruction of justice.”
The memo said that BMC gang members “shot, stabbed, and threatened to kill people in our community…. The sole purpose of BMC is to terrorize our community for their own selfish goals of power, respect, and money.”
Gomez was sentenced to five years in federal prison. He was released but sent back to prison in February 2018 after a federal judge concluded he violated his probation by possessing a gun, associating with criminals and associating with identified gang members.
Federal prison officials said he was released again in December 2018.
Jimenez’s criminal record dates back to at least 2006 and includes crimes in Payette County in Idaho and Malheur County.
In Payette County Jimenez faced an array of felony and misdemeanor charges including possession of a controlled substance, resisting or obstructing police, grand theft and burglary.
Court records show Jimenez was convicted in 2014 in Malheur County for possession of methamphetamine, a felony.
In 2016, Ontario school officials called authorities when an elementary school child behaved oddly, picking at his skin, acting fidgety and sluggish. A doctor subsequently found traces of amphetamine in the child’s urine, according to state reports.
The mother told the police that the child got into “pre-workout powder” in Jimenez’s gym bag. Jimenez later left police a message that he was responsible for the powder. He pleaded guilty to second-degree child neglect in Malheur County Circuit Court and was put on probation.
He was charged again in January 2018 after he jumped out of a van he was driving while it was still moving when Ontario police tried to stop him for a traffic infraction. He pleaded guilty later that month and again was put on probation. Later that year, he was indicted in Malheur County for possession of methamphetamine and second-degree theft.
He was still wanted by police on those charges when in 2019, according to an Ontario Police Department report, Jimenez “was posting video and photos on Facebook of himself smoking meth and holding handguns.”
In an operation conducted by Ontario police, Oregon State Police, the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office and ATF, Jimenez was arrested on April 2, 2019, at an Ontario home. The police report said that part of a .40-caliber Glock handgun was recovered from the toilet tank and the rest of the gun in a laundry closet.
Jimenez was charged with the state crime of felon in possession of a firearm and prosecutors moved to revoke his probation on the child neglect and reckless driving cases. On May 30, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail for the probation violations, getting credit for time he already spent in jail.
At the same time, Jimenez struck a deal with prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to the firearm charge which, according to his plea petition, could have netted him up to 30 months in prison. Instead, he was once again put on probation, this time for three years. He also pleaded guilty to earlier meth charge.
Part of his agreement required that Jimenez “remain available and fully cooperate with state and federal law enforcement agencies.” The agreement didn’t elaborate on what the agencies wanted to learn from Jimenez.
He was released from jail on Sept. 27. In less than a week, county authorities sought to arrest Jimenez because he wasn’t reporting to corrections authorities. On Oct. 8, prosecutors in the Malheur County district attorney’s office asked that his probation be revoked.
Later that night, just after midnight, Jimenez was shot.
Prosecutors soon moved again to revoke his probation, this time because he was accused of having a .22-caliber gun at the time of the Ontario shooting.
“Xavier Jimenez has a lengthy and well-established pattern of non-compliance with community supervision, absconding supervision, firearms possession and failing to follow through with treatment,” according to an Oct. 9 probation violation report by the Malheur County Community Corrections Division.
Meantime, ATF agents had focused anew on Gomez following a June 20 crash on U.S. Highway 26 outside of Vale.
According to a sworn affidavit, Gomez was driving his 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche pickup truck, following associates ahead of him in a Cadillac. Gomez collided with a stack wagon when it turned, and Gomez’s vehicle went off the road and rolled.
When the Oregon State Police investigated the accident, a trooper found a .380-caliber pistol containing six rounds near Gomez’s car. As a felon, Gomez is forbidden to own a firearm. ATF agents questioned Gomez and his passenger on July 2 and both denied knowing anything about the gun. In September, ATF agents questioned a witness who saw the crash.
Their case moved ahead two days after Jimenez was shot, when Gomez was charged in U.S. District Court in Medford for illegally possessing the gun found after the crash outside Vale.
Federal authorities declined comment on the case.
Gomez also faces new felony charges in Malheur County of assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm and other charges that stem from the June crash.
Reporters Pat Caldwell: firstname.lastname@example.org; Joe Siess: email@example.com; Yadira Lopez: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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