In a 2010 North County Times story still available at archive.org, Zoraida Balderas discussed the accidental murder of her brother by his friends and fellow gang members in a botched attack on Carlsbad rivals.
Zoraida Balderas, 20, said her brother grew up in Cardiff and knew the young men she believes are his killers for many years. Her brother wasn't a violent person, she said, and she thinks he was used by the other men.
"Those guys didn't care who they shot; my brother would have never been so cold," Balderas said.
Juan Carlos Balderas was convicted of grand theft in 2006, but at the time of his death, he was working toward his GED and looking for work, his sister said.
[Victor] Lopez testified that Balderas drove them to Pine Park in Carlsbad's barrio neighborhood, parking by the Carlsbad Community Center. Javier Lopez agreed to be the shooter, he said.
They quickly spotted some men who looked like Carlsbad gang members.
Lopez said he and Balderas got separated from their friends and were confronted by about four Carlsbad men.
After an argument, the Encinitas gang members went into an alley to hide. There, they encountered a Carlsbad man who appeared to be a gang member with some kind of weapon, Lopez said.
Lopez ran for his life after the man struck him in the face with a weapon, possibly a bat or a gun, he said. He never saw Balderas again, he said.
Just a few minutes later, witnesses called police to report a fight, then shots fired.
Balderas was found dead in a vacant lot by the park. Police said he was killed by the same 28-gauge shotgun Barraza had loaned them, and that Javier Lopez, probably in a chaotic fray with other gang members, shot him.