GILROY, Calif. (KRON) — Moments after a deadly shooting broke out at a Halloween party, a Gilroy City Council member was more concerned about moving barricades on her property than a teenager who was dying in her driveway, a police officer wrote.

New details about what happened at Councilwoman Rebeca Armendariz’s house on Oct. 30, 2021, were released this week by investigators who conducted a lengthy probe into the lawmaker and her family.

Four teenagers were shot at the party. Michael Zuniga Macias, 18, was shot to death and a second teenager is now a quadriplegic because of his injuries.

Armendariz was on the property when the “chaotic” Halloween party and quadruple shooting unfolded, investigators said.

Despite breaking city codes and outrage from the community, city officials cannot remove Armendariz from the City Council, Gilroy Mayor Marie Blankley said.

“Questions have been raised by family members of the victims as well as the general public regarding the authority of the Gilroy City Council to remove a councilmember from office. Only the voters have the power to remove a council member from office, or to otherwise ‘do something,'” Blankley said.

The party was privately planned and hosted by the Armendariz family at their longtime residence at 490 Las Animas in Gilroy, according to the newly-released investigation report.

The party began on the evening of Oct. 29 and continued into the early morning hours of Oct. 30. Loud music blared, pools were filled with kegs containing alcohol and the crowd grew in size, investigators said.

Witnesses who attended the party said at least 70 people, mostly teenagers dressed up in Halloween costumes, were in the crowd.

Memorial at Gilroy homicide scene
Memorial at Gilroy homicide scene (KRON4 photo)

According to police and witnesses, a group of teenagers who were not welcome showed up around 1 a.m. Then a fight broke out, the music turned off, the lights went out and gunshots rang out.

The homicide victim’s friend told FOX40 sister station KRON4 that Macias was not involved in the fight, but he was caught in the crossfire.

“People started shooting and he got caught in the middle of it,” the friend said.

One of the first police officers who arrived at the homicide scene said he saw the councilwoman moving city-owned barricades and stacking them in front of the house. Armendariz had borrowed the barricades from the city for a separate event at a different location, but the barricades were also used at the Halloween party, investigators said.

Rebeca Armendariz
Rebeca Armendariz (City of Gilroy)

The officer “perceived Ms. Armendariz as being more concerned about the barricades than the victims of the shooting. He noted that at the time Ms. Armendariz wanted to move the barricades to the front of the house, the body of the victim of the shooting was still in her driveway. It appeared to him as if Ms. Armendariz was trying to hide the barricades,” the report wrote.

The police officer’s name was redacted from the report before it was publicly released by the city.

In the wake of the homicide, the city hired an independent investigator, Hanson Bridgett LLP, to question Armendariz with her attorney on Jan. 19.

Her account of what happened leading up to and during the party “lacked credibility,” investigators wrote. Investigators said she attempted to distance herself from responsibility and refused to fully cooperate.

“The investigation found that the inconsistencies and inherent implausibility of Ms. Armendariz’s recollection of the party … were significant and severely detracted from her credibility as a witness,” the report wrote.

Among Armendariz’s claims that investigators found “implausible” included: She was unaware that underage teenagers were drinking at the party; she was unaware of the size and scale of the party’s crowd; and she did not help plan the party.

The independent investigator concluded that Rebeca Armendariz assisted her son and nephew in organizing and planning the party.

Photographs from the party “clearly depicted alcohol containers strewn about the property, including kegs of beer located in plastic swimming pool,” the report states.

“The event included consumption of alcohol by teenagers and underage adults and public drunkenness, and ultimately led to a deadly shooting,” Mayor Blankley said.

“We, the Gilroy community, mourn the death of young Michael Zuniga Macias together with his family and friends, and the life-altering injuries sustained by others on the Armendariz family property. Making adults accountable for their acts that put teens and underage adults in harm’s way by providing venues and hosting such gatherings is precisely the aim of Gilroy’s Social Host Ordinance,” Blankley said.

The city issued several citations to Rebeca Armendariz, her mother Augustina (Sally) Armendariz, her nephew Benjamin Calderon, and her son Domingo Armendariz, for violating Gilroy’s Social Host Ordinance and failing to obtain a special event permit.

The councilwoman told investigators that she was not aware of the city’s social host ordinance and did not believe that she violated it.

Rebeca Armendariz was elected by voters to the Gilroy City Council in 2020.

She told investigators that immediately before the shooting, she told her son to talk to a “kid” who was “acting crazy” and breaking limbs off of a tree.

“While her son was over talking to the young man who broke the pine branch, the music stopped and the lights went out, and then she heard gunshots,” the report wrote.

Gilroy police arrested 18-year-old Lucas James Tomasetti in connection to the shooting. Tomasetti was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

A second suspect, 19-year-old David Calderon, was arrested by a SWAT team, but the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against him.

The district attorney’s office wrote, “We have declined to file charges pending further investigation. This was a large, chaotic Halloween party that ended with a tragic shooting and homicide.”

The criminal investigation being conducted by the Gilroy Police Department is still ongoing. Anyone who has information regarding this incident is encouraged to call Detective Chris Silva at 408-846-0335.