The Santa Barbara Police Department had not identified any suspect or suspects as of Wednesday afternoon in connection with Sunday’s double homicide, which had ties to criminal street gang activity, police said.
The shooting occurred at approximately 5:40 p.m. Sunday in the 1200 block of Liberty Street on the city’s Eastside. Two people were fatally wounded, one identified as 18-year-old Omar Montiel-Hernandez and the other a minor whose identity was withheld, according to authorities.
Two others were injured and transported to a local hospital after suffering non-life threatening injuries, said Anthony Wagner, police spokesman.
Mr. Wagner indicated on Wednesday that there were no updates on the investigation and that no warrants had been served.
The shooting had “ties with or ties to a criminal street gang or gangs,” Mr. Wagner added.
A GoFundMe campaign was launched earlier this week by Amy “Drea” Martinez, a Goleta resident and community organizer, seeking assistance for the funeral expenses of 17-year-old Angel Castillo, whom the organizer identified as the second deceased victim.
“When dealing with such unexpected and senseless loss, the last thing a mother — family members — want to think about is how to pay for a funeral,” Ms. Martinez wrote. “The cost of funeral services increases each year, and many families struggle to pay for a service to honor the life of their loved one.
“Given that we are still amidst a global pandemic that has exacerbated the financial stability of thousands across the country, finding assistance that covers the entire cost of funeral expenses has added a new layer of challenge, especially for Angel’s family. Thus, I am reaching out to all friends, family, extended family, and community for financial support in helping me fundraise on behalf of the Castillo family.
“All proceeds will go towards covering Angel’s funeral expenses.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, the campaign had raised more than $8,000 courtesy of 140 donors.
Moms Demand Action, a volunteer group that is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, issued a response to the fatal shooting on Wednesday, while also making mention of a Monday shooting that left no one injured.
“It is unacceptable that we have lost two of our teens to senseless gun violence,” Kendall Pata, local group co-leader of the Santa Barbara chapter of Moms Demand Action, said in a statement. “Our hearts are with the families of Angel, Omar, and the other survivors of the shooting. It’s time to prioritize funding for violence intervention groups that work tirelessly to prevent gun violence among our most vulnerable youth.”
MDA said that lawmakers should be focused on passing “common sense gun safety laws,” namely CalVIP, which supports community-based violence intervention programs that apply a localized approach to reducing gun violence in neighborhoods impacted by gun violence.
In addition, MDA is urging all county school districts to pass safe storage resolutions and send bilingual letters to parents and guardians reminding them of their legal responsibility to safely store their firearms locked and unloaded.
In August, the Santa Barbara Unified School District unanimously passed the first gun safe storage resolution.
MDA officials say that firearm suicide rate among children and teens has increased 65% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Responsible gun storage keeps guns out of the wrong hands, reducing deaths and injuries among children and teens who are facing challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” read a news release.
Anyone with information on the shooting is urged to contact the department’s detective division at 805-897-2335. To leave an anonymous tip, call 805-569-2677.