[UPDATED with Car Wash for Jeremy:] 16-year-old Boy, OC Homicide No. 33: Neighbor Jose Gil Held in Fatal Stabbing

See Update No. 2 at the end of this post on a car wash fund-raiser for the victim's family.

See Update No. 1 detailing the suspect's release from custody, angering the dead boy's family.


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Jose Gil
ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 10, 9:19 A.M.: A man who had been involved in a prior dispute with teenagers in his Garden Grove neighborhood is now facing murder charges for the stabbing of a 16-year-old boy.

This went down before midnight Friday night, when a group of teens saw Jose Gil riding on a bike, went after the 31-year-old and confronted him, leading to a fistfight, according to a statement from Garden Grove Police Lt. Jeff Nightengale.

The teens were visiting a friend near Gil's residence in the 11600 block of Barclay Drive when the man was spotted on his bike. They got in a car and went looking for Gil before the fight that involved him and at least one other teenager, Nightengale said.

One teen was stabbed during that fight and later taken by paramedics to a local hospital, where he died after several hours of medical treatment, according to Nightengale.

While Gil was booked on suspicion of murder, the police agency is working with the Orange County District Attorney's office to figure out what the ultimate charges against Gil will be, Nightengale said.

And the investigation is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Investigator Reynolds at 714.741.5800.

UPDATE NO. 1, SEPT. 13, 9:33 A.M.: Jose Gil has been released from custody due to a request from prosecutors for further investigation into the fatal stabbing of the 16-year-old boy, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA).

"Once that is complete, we will review if criminal charges are appropriate," explained Farrah Emami, the OCDA spokeswoman, to the Weekly.

This development has angered the dead boy's family, who contend "Crazy Joe," as neighbors know him, is a "lunatic" and "a self-appointed neighborhood watchman" who "fights with all the skaters."

"He set a really obvious trap and the kids must've fell for it because this guy is out now," said a relative of the deceased, speaking for the boy's parents and asking that all not be identified. "There were only words exchanged then he reached into his bike basket thing and took out the knife. Anyone could easily go egg some kids on and let them come at them and hurt them. It has to be seen that way."

The way authorities see it is the incident happened on Gil's driveway, where he was outnumbered 3 to 1. It bolsters Gil's argument that he acted in self-defense.

But the relative counters Gil "is at least 6 feet tall and 220 pounds" and claims he was under the influence of alcohol and medication.

"He's a giant next to the kids," the relative said of Gil. "Jose wanted confrontation and waited for it and now he has convinced everyone that he feared for his life when in reality he was frustrated at the kids and intoxicated and wanted the exchange of words because of an earlier argument. He waited for that second exchange of words with the one kid, pulled out a knife and stabbed [him]."

The relative claims Gil was involved in another incident with a different youth minutes before the stabbing, producing a separate police call.

"Jose Gil was searched, the police found a knife and pepper spray in his basket on his bicycle," he said. "The police knew he was heavily intoxicated and under the influence of medication and let him go. Five minutes later, he killed [the boy] with that same knife."

The relative claimed to "only want fair justice seen on all sides no matter what. I am not a person that would wish unfairness in order to feel better, ever, and I'm am not speaking out of anger. I do hope that the justice system sees that there is a possible injustice here, a 16-year-old child's life was taken at the hands of an adult. And if the facts and evidence are looked at closely and fairly and are understood by a jury, only then will 'fair' justice be served. And if that means Jose Gil walks free after a fair look, I will accept it then."

The trick now will be getting the case before that jury.

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UPDATE NO. 2, SEPT. 14, 9:35 A.M.: There will be a "Car Wash for Jeremy," the 16-year-old stabbed to death by a neighbor, Saturday at Our Redeemer Church, 12301 Magnolia Ave., Garden Grove.

Minimum donation is $5 for cars and $10 for large SUV's.

Money raised will help the family lay Jeremy to rest.

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