San Francisco
U.S. District Court

Man with six gun convictions back in court for auto burglary, guns

A man on supervised release having been convicted of carrying a loaded firearm – his sixth firearms conviction – was back in federal court today having been found with another gun, this time in his car, which had been reported as the getaway vehicle in a June 2023 ‘smash and grab’ auto burglary.

Eric Herrera, 34, was found by SFPD in San Francisco’s Hunters Point neighborhood along with his car, a silver 2006 Honda Accord, in late June 2023.

The vehicle’s license plate had been flagged as it had been used in a June 7 raid on a tourist’s Chevy Transverse rental car, parked on Clayton Street, which saw the Chevy’s back window broken and two bags stolen. The incident was filmed by a nearby witness.

A search of the vehicle uncovered a bag containing a green .40 caliber Polymer 80 pistol equipped with an extended magazine. Mail addressed to “Eric Herrera” was also found in the same bag.

A report presented to the court indicates that, after officers made contact with Mr Herrera, but before the firearm was discovered, he was allowed to enter a nearby residence on his own. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the report goes on to say, “he never returned”. On further investigation, police were told that he was no longer there and had “gone out the back”. Ammunition and a stolen bag were later found in the residence.

Apparently on the lam in the intervening period jail records indicate he was again in federal custody on September 15.

Authorities’ charged Herrera with two violations of his post-release supervision – both the substantive criminal matter plus a failure to inform his probation officer of a law enforcement contact.

He appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Kang for a detention hearing.

“If you take a look at this rap sheet it is quite extensive for a man…in his early 30s,” noted Assistant U.S. Attorney Sailaja Paidipaty. “The conduct here is very concerning and involves multiple crimes.”

“I simply don’t believe he can meet his burden to a clear and convincing standard, and believe detention is appropriate for the safety of the community.”

Herrera had been sentenced in June 2019 to 36 months’ imprisonment after twice flinging loaded guns from car windows while being pursued by the police. Prosecutors said he was armed in order to protect marijuana in his possession which they said was in quantities that indicated he was a dealer.

U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg’s sentence went against the Government’s recommendation of 51 months and aligned instead with the views of the U.S. Probation Office which itself suggested a “downward variance” to the 36 month figure.

Defense attorneys had enterprisingly asked for a 24 month sentence on grounds which included Herrera feeling the need to carry guns because of post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by having been shot in 2012.

The court was assured at that sentencing hearing that Herrera “has portions of his future set in motion in significant proactive fashion in that he has been accepted in to a faith-based recovery home to which to release, as well as having secured verified future employment.”

At this morning’s hearing, in order to allow Herrera’s attorney an opportunity to discuss a detailed proposal for release with his probation officer, Judge Kang – “without making any final decisions, and not pre-judging anything” – ordered the parties to return to court next week. Herrera was remanded in custody in the interim.

Severa Keith had told the court that she was seeking to develop options which included her client participating in Waldon House’s African American Healing Center outpatient program.

The parties will return on September 26.

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