South Bay Resident Charged With Federal Firearm Violation In The Wake Of January 2020 Shooting Death

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

SAN JOSE – The Office of the United States Attorney has filed a federal criminal complaint charging Marcus Pardo with a firearm-related crime in connection with a January 2020 shooting death near the corner of Squeri Drive and Clayton Road in San Jose, announced U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Federal Bureau of Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan.  

The complaint, filed April 11, 2022, and unsealed earlier today, alleges that Pardo, of Gilroy, Calif., shot and killed the victim with a .50 caliber firearm on January 15, 2020, during a drug transaction.  According to the complaint, the shooting victim was involved in coordinating a drug deal between Pardo and another individual (the Intended Buyer) earlier the same day.  The victim’s recovered text messages and other evidence show that the victim and the Intended Buyer met with Pardo, who had agreed to sell prescription Oxycodone pills to the Intended Buyer.  The text messages also indicate Pardo and the Intended Buyer were bringing firearms to the drug deal and that the Intended Buyer contemplated robbing Pardo during the deal.  The complaint details text messages by the victim acknowledging the danger inherent in this situation, and, specifically, one message in which the victim wrote to his friends: “Y’all if I die tonight just know I love y’all.”

According to the complaint, during the resulting meeting, Pardo fired the .50 caliber handgun in his possession, striking and killing the victim.

Pardo is charged with one count of using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i).  Pardo faces a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, and a maximum sentence of life in prison.  In addition, as part of any sentence, the court may order restitution, a maximum $250,000 fine, and up to three years of supervised release.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Pardo made his initial federal court appearance this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Virginia K. DeMarchi.  

A criminal complaint merely alleges that a crime has been committed, and, as with all defendants, Pardo is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Backhus is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Elise Etter.  This prosecution is the result of an investigation by the San Jose Police Department and the FBI.