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Family Responds After Arrests Made in Shooting Death of SJ Safeway Worker

Family members are reacting after police made two arrests in the shooting death of a San Jose Safeway worker.

Flowers and candles still can be found along the sidewalk outside the Safeway store on Hamilton Avenue. It’s a tribute to 24-year-old Manuel Huizer, a Safeway employee who was murdered inside the store back on June 5.

“Truly an innocent victim of a horrendous crime that should never have happened,” said Steve Aponte with the San Jose Police Department.

On Thursday, San Jose police said with the help of the U.S. Marshals, they arrested 18-year-old Tavita Tuakalau in Utah. Tuakalau is awaiting extradition to Santa Clara County.

Police also announced the arrest of a second man, Jacob Parrilla. But the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said Friday that there is not enough evidence to charge Parrilla with any crime, so he’s being released from jail.

Huizer’s family told NBC Bay Area Friday that they were relieved to have at least some answers to their many questions about the victim’s death.

“It was a little relief. It’s been two and a half months and didn’t hear anything for police. It was kind of quiet,” said Guillermo Huizar Conrnejo, the victim’s brother.

Guillermo Huizar Conrnejo said the last seven weeks have been agonizing for the family.

“It’s been hard accepting that he’s gone. It has been a long process. A lot of pain. A lot of crying moments. Sad moments,” he said.

Safeway shoppers have also been waiting for developments in the case and those people that NBC Bay Area talked with on Friday also cheered the arrests.

“I think it’s great news. I live just down the street and those things just don’t happen here. So, I’m glad they made an arrest,” said San Jose resident Mike Bernstein.

Guillermo Huizar Conrnejo described Manuel as a quiet man who attended San Jose State University and added he was a man who went from work, to the gym, to his home.

With the news of an arrest, Huizar’s family said they can finally move on to the next phase of grieving.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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