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DA: Keyes shooter won’t go to trial due to ‘self-defense’
Evan Robinson
Evan Robinson, 16, was fatally shot in a fight that escalated to gunshots near a taco truck on Martha Avenue in Keyes (Photo contributed).

The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office will not be prosecuting one of two suspects arrested in the May 2 Keyes homicide of 16-year-old Evan Robinson – unless more evidence is presented for a trial.

Stanislaus County Sheriff’s detectives identified 19-yearold Ruben Perez of Keyes and Anthony Joseph Pando, 22, of Ceres, as suspects in the shooting death of Robinson. Detectives believe a physical altercation preceded the drawing of guns and that Robinson was an innocent bystander who was fatally wounded in the crossfire. The shooting took place at the food truck stationed at Martha Avenue and 7th Street in Keyes at approximately 8:48 p.m.

In a shocking turn of events, the DA has decided not to prosecute Pando unless additional information can be turned over which the office feels it could justify the filing of charges. For now, prosecutors say while Pando’s gun may have fired the fatal shot, he appears that he was acting in self-defense. The news stunned Robinson’s mother, Athan Hicks of Modesto. She wants Pando held accountable for the wayward shot.

Charges have been filed against Perez, considered the main aggressor in the incident. He has also been charged with the attempted murder of Pando and Pando’s friend who was at the scene.

DA spokesman John Goold noted that prosecutors want solid evidence that supports filing criminal charges. Pando was arrested in Oregon on a probable cause warrant, called a Ramey warrant. What makes the Ramey warrant different than a typical arrest warrant is that, normally, the prosecutor would file criminal charges before the arrest warrant is issued. Bringing charges in court requires evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.

Robinson was shot multiple times and was found lying in the middle of the road. First responders attempted to save his life but he died on scene. Witnesses told deputies that several people were eating near taco trucks in the area when a fight broke out. Investigators say that Robinson was caught in gunfire. A silver car was seen fleeing the area and believed to be involved.

Stanislaus County Sheriff’s detectives will continue their investigation to dig up evidence for a trial.

“We hope to provide the desired information for the DA to file,” said Sheriff Jeff Dirkse.