San Jose police arrest Campbell man suspected of making at least 7 pellet shootings

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — San Jose police have arrested a man suspected of shooting at least seven women and girls in the South Bay with an air rifle.

Nicholas Montoya, 38, of Campbell, is charged with seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon and is now behind bars.

The first reported shooting took place on April 14, 2022 and the seventh on June 15, 2022.

Some of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries, but luckily no one was killed.

Both Gianna Vitarelli and Ramona Hockett were shot in the back with an air rifle as they walked through the streets.

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Vitarelli was walking with a friend near Valley Fair Mall while Hockett was walking with a friend along Keyes Street.

Hockett says police told him captured video footage showed Montoya had stopped along the road when he fired.

Vitarelli remembers a loud noise before feeling pain and her friend notices the injury.

Lead has caused serious harm to women. It came within inches, millimeters of their heart.

“Moving forward, every time I go out my guard is going to be lifted because no place is really safe,” Vitarelli said.

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“I’ve had a lot of post-traumatic stress since the shooting and I don’t feel safe just walking down the street because I know he’s just targeting people,” Hockett said.

But on Tuesday, Vitarelli and Hockett heard the news that brought some kind of peace and relief to their lives: their alleged shooter had been arrested.

Montoya appeared in court for the first time today as the motives for the shooting are still under investigation

“Our detectives have worked extensively on this case,” said SJPD Sgt. says Christian Camarillo. “What was really interesting and empowering for them was that in all of these cases there was no physical evidence left behind. It was really a ‘who did it?’ textbook. So I’m very happy to have taken this individual off our streets.”

San Jose police tell us the seven victims in the case were women from West San Jose and Campbell, a nine-year-old Vitarelli and a 15-year-old among those shot.

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The investigation included the SJPD’s Crime Analysis Unit, the SJPD’s Criminal Data Intelligence Center, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office Crime Strategies Unit, and the Campbell Police Department.

After obtaining search warrants, Montoya was arrested at his home in Campbell on August 2 and two airguns were seized, including one with a scope on it. It is not known at this time what weapon was used, according to the police.

Now, as Vitarelli and Hockett recover physically and mentally, they say they’re thankful this shooter can’t hurt anyone anymore.

“It brought a lot of relief to know that he’s behind bars and he can’t hurt anybody else because he’s hurt far too many people already,” Hockett said.

“I’m really glad the guy got caught,” Vitarelli said. “I think I feel a lot safer now.”

Police are asking any other victims of the shooting to come forward as they continue their investigation.

The SJPD and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office will provide more details at a press conference scheduled for tomorrow.

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