SAN JOSE — Prosecutors have charged a 23-year-old man with murder, alleging the San Jose resident fired a bullet across a busy downtown street that killed a San Jose State nursing student who was riding in a car that just happened to be passing through.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office filed a murder count with a gun enhancement against Johnny Zapata Lozano, who appeared in a San Jose courtroom Friday before being led back to custody in the main jail, where he is being held without bail.

Clad in the red jumpsuit reserved for homicide defendants, Lozano was mostly silent, other than speaking softly with his appointed counsel for the brief hearing. Three women who sat in the gallery apparently in support of Lozano quickly left the courthouse and refused to talk to reporters.

“We don’t have anything to say about this,” one of the women said while hurrying away.

Case files submitted by police to prosecutors are under court seal, but the felony complaint filed Friday identified Lozano as the shooter in the city’s 30th homicide of the year.

The victim, 19-year-old Kimberly Joyce Estrada Chico, was in the passenger seat of a westbound vehicle on East San Salvador Street near South Second Street when she was hit by a bullet just before 2 a.m. Aug. 3, as the city’s bars and clubs were letting out for the night.

A 21-year-old man driving the car stopped a block later, and Chico was taken to the hospital, where she died. Funeral and burial services were scheduled for Saturday.

Police said early on that Chico, a San Jose State sophomore, simply got caught in a crossfire in a heartbreaking chance occurrence. That sentiment was echoed by prosecutors Friday.

“This case is an awful tragedy,” Deputy District Attorney Anne Seery said outside the courtroom Friday. “This is a case we take very seriously. We are working around the clock. Our hearts go out to her family and her friends.”


Investigators have not made clear who Lozano may have been shooting at or why he opened fire.

Lozano was arrested Wednesday evening when officers working as part of the San Jose Police Department’s gang-suppression detail spotted him walking near Senter and Coyote roads in South San Jose. A photo bulletin had been distributed alerting officers to be on the lookout for him after investigators tied him to the downtown shooting.

When he was arrested at a Beacon gas station in the area, police searched him and found a handgun and what appeared to be crack cocaine. Police said Thursday they were determining whether the gun was the one used in Chico’s killing — bullet casings were recovered at the shooting site.