Warrants served Thursday in Jan. 3 case
Three Carpinteria residents have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 3 fatal shooting of two local teenagers, police said.
The Santa Barbara Police Department, joined by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team, served warrants Thursday morning at three South Coast locations. Angel Eduardo Varela, 26, Oscar Martin Trujillo-Gutierrez, 25, and Emilio Perez, 18, were arrested on suspicion of murder.
The three were also arrested on suspicion of special circumstances of committing more than one murder, special circumstances of murder committed by an active participant in a gang to further the activities of the gang, as well as special allegations of using a gun in association with a criminal street gang and committing a felony in association with a criminal street gang, Lt. Shawn Hill, police spokesman, said in a news release.
The three suspects are also accused of attempted murder with premeditation and deliberation, authorities said.
The warrants were served around 8:30 a.m. at a pair of residences in the 1000 block of Cramer Road in Carpinteria, as well as a residence under construction in the 2300 block of Golden Gate Avenue in Summerland. The Sheriff’s Office issued a shelter-in-place for residents in the immediate area of Carpinteria Avenue and Cramer Road on Thursday morning.
Barney Melekian, interim police chief for the Santa Barbara Police Department, said in a statement that the arrests “represent the culmination of weeks of planning and investigative work.
“While we recognize that nothing we have done here can bring back the lives that were lost, detectives never stopped working on this case and hopefully prevented future acts of retaliation, which lead in turn to more tragedy,” he said. “As a society we must continue to work with the young people in our community to ensure that no more lives are lost.”
The victims of the shooting were 17-year-old Angel Castillo and 18-year-old Omar Montiel-Hernandez. Two others were injured and transported to a local hospital after suffering non-life threatening injuries, police said.
The police department continues to communicate with the family of the victims and express condolences for their loss. Family and friends remember Angel as someone who loved his family, especially his little brother. He dreamed one day of owning an auto body shop.
Mr. Montiel-Hernandez is remembered as a great brother who was always looking out for his younger siblings. When he turned 18, he told his mother it was his turn to start taking care of her, and would often tell his mother “Life is beautiful.”
The three suspects have been booked at Santa Barbara County Jail and will be held without bail. The investigation is ongoing and no additional information was released.