North County saw a bizarre uptick in violent crimes over the past week, with an alleged shooting and robbery ending in a police chase to Kern County, two victims shot by an unknown suspect in a residential carport, and a man allegedly setting his father on fire in just under five days.
CRIME SPREE ENDING IN KERN COUNTY
A Lompoc man was killed and a juvenile arrested on Wednesday, June 8, following a police pursuit near San Luis Obispo and Kern Counties. The suspects had allegedly engaged in an armed robbery in Buellton, and an alleged shooting in Lompoc in the days before.
The crime spree started with an alleged homicide in Lompoc on June 5, and an alleged carjacking in Anaheim on June 7. On June 8, a robbery was reported at a liquor store on the Avenue of the Flags in Buellton, where an armed suspect took off with an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspects were linked to these previous crimes after police began pursuing them for the robbery.
Later, SLO officers located the vehicle the suspects were spotted in and began a pursuit that led into Kern County. The suspects were pursued by California Highway Patrol and Kern County Sheriff’s Deputies, who lost sight of the suspects in Paso Robles before cornering them in an orchard in Kern County, where they fled from their vehicle on foot.
Kern County Deputies approached the suspects in a canal, and one was arrested without incident while the other was found dead from a gunshot wound. A handgun was found near the body. At this time it is unknown how the deceased suspect suffered the injury. Law enforcement officials reported that no officers had fired their weapons during this incident.
The suspect who was detained is a juvenile and was booked into Juvenile Hall on an outstanding warrant.
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FATHER SET ON FIRE BY SON
Lompoc officers received a call on Saturday, June 11, reporting a son and father fighting inside of a residence in the 200 block of North D Street. As officers were on their way to the residence, a second call came in that the father was being physically assaulted.
Officers contacted a man, later identified as Joe Garcia Junior, and asked him to open the front door. Garcia Jr. did not comply and the door was forced open, and officers immediately observed the other man, later identified as the father of Garcia Jr., to be on fire and burning.
The father was placed on the ground and the fire was extinguished, though he sustained third degree burns and was airlifted to Cottage Hospital and later to a burn center. Garcia Jr. was arrested under several charges, including attempted murder, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, and animal cruelty. The case is currently under investigation.
TWO SHOT IN NEIGHBORHOOD
On Sunday, June 12, Lompoc officers found two victims of gun violence in a residential carport, after receiving calls reporting shots fired. One victim was pronounced dead at the scene, and the other is currently in stable condition.
Just after 7:30 p.m. Saturday, officers were dispatched to the 400 block of East Prune Avenue. Officers located a 43 year old male and a 56 year old female in a residence’s carport, both having sustained gunshot wounds. The male, identified as Joseph Lujan, was pronounced deceased at the scene. The female was transported to an area hospital, where she is currently listed in stable condition.
Lompoc Police Department detectives are investigating the motive for the shooting, and anyone with information is urged to contact Detectives at 805-736-2341.