Santa Barbara police have only just now confirmed that two additional arrests have been made in connection with the Liberty Street shootings on the City of Santa Barbara’s lower Eastside this January that claimed the lives of two teens and wounded at least two others. These arrests were made on April 8 and 12, respectively.
On April 8, teams of city police accompanied by Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 35-year-old Fernando Gutierrez on the 1100 block of Mark Avenue in Carpinteria. Gutierrez, police allege, has gang affiliations and was arrested for possession of a firearm and is being held on $500,000 bail. On April 12, an arrest was made on Edgardo Romero, 30, of Ventura, who is being held without bail on charges of accessory to murder, illegal possession of assault weapons, and unlawful manufacture of a firearm.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Ethan Ragsdale stated that investigators had to “tie up a few loose ends,” before the arrests — much rumored about — could be officially announced.
The arrests also involved the seizure of several weapons — three assault-style rifles, one revolver, and three semi-automatic handguns — as well as 16 assault rifle magazines, one high-capacity handgun drum magazine, eight bulletproof vests, 2,400 rounds of ammunition, and gang-related indicia.
Killed in the shootings were Angel Castillo and Omar Montiel-Hernandez, 17 and 18, respectively. At least one of the victims, Castillo, had been shot in the back while fleeing. Police indicated three others had been victims of attempted murder. Previously, it had been reported that two others had been wounded in the shooting. With the inclusion of a third nonfatal victim, it’s not clear whether the third victim was wounded or simply shot at.
Police arrested three other suspects in connection with the shooting in raids executed in both Carpinteria and Summerland earlier this month. All three were charged with multiple counts: murder, committing more than one murder, and committing murder to further a criminal street gang.