Jose Angel Solorio in court
Jose Angel Solorio in court. Image from Fox 5 broadcast

A man was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder Friday for gunning down two men at a 4-year-old girl’s birthday party in Ramona 35 years ago, then fleeing to Mexico.

Jose Angel Solorio, 62, was found guilty of the June 7, 1987, killings of German Aviles, 26, and Ventura Aviles, 21. The men died at the scene of the shooting, which took place at an apartment on B Street, where a celebration was held for the birthday of German Aviles’ 4-year-old daughter.

Deputy District Attorney Chris Lindberg alleged Solorio, then 27 years old, got into an argument with the victims and other men over getting more beer for the party.

The prosecutor alleged Solorio was angered over an apparent insult directed at him, left the party and returned a short time later with a loaded gun.

While standing in the doorway of the apartment, Solorio fatally shot German and Ventura Aviles, then shot and wounded another man inside the apartment. He then shot another man outside the apartment who was returning to the home with beer. Though none of the men were armed with a firearm, Ventura Aviles had a knife tucked in his waistband, though Lindberg said there was no evidence that he ever produced the knife or threatened to use it.

Solorio was initially charged with murder and attempted murder for allegedly shooting all four men, but only faced two murder counts at trial in connection with the deceased victims.

Defense attorney Shannon Kitten argued Solorio was attacked by the men and fired in self-defense.

She said that during the party, someone made threats towards Solorio and his family. When he returned to the party to confront the men about what was said, Kitten said the men advanced on him and Solorio said, “Don’t come at me,” before opening fire.

Lindberg alleged that self-defense did not come into play because the defendant provoked the shooting.

“The defendant wasn’t in danger when he came back with a gun. The defendant was the danger,” Lindberg told the jury.

Solorio was located in Mexico in March of 2019 and extradited to the United States later that year.

He is slated to be sentenced on June 24.

City News Service contributed to this article.