More Video and Details Released in Fatal Melody Market Shooting
Sheriff’s Office Shares Full Incident Video and Name of Off-Duty Officer Who Shot Armed 19-Year-Old in Orcutt
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday shared new surveillance footage and details in the fatal shooting of a young man outside the Melody Market in Orcutt on March 25, including the name of the off-duty police officer who shot and killed the suspect.
Manuel Reyes Rios, 19, of Santa Maria, was shot by off-duty Santa Maria police officer Antonio Peña, the Sheriff’s Office revealed in a May 17 press release. The newly released, roughly nine-minute video captured on the market’s exterior cameras shows the shooting and the moments directly leading up to and following it from two different angles.
The video begins just before 8 p.m., when a white sedan carrying four occupants arrives just before Rios and three others pull up in a silver sedan. Officer Peña, a three-year veteran of the department, arrives shortly after in a black pickup truck with his family and enters the store alone, followed by a fourth vehicle, a white SUV, with an unidentified woman and her two children. As the woman enters the market, leaving her two children in the car, she holds the door open for Rios, seen wearing a red hoodie in the video, as he exits.
“While Officer Peña and the woman were inside the store, the two groups from the other vehicles engaged in a physical altercation in the parking lot,” according to the press release.
Officer Peña then returns to his pickup, noticing the fight, and the silver sedan Rios arrived in backs up before driving into the two unidentified men in gray who approached Rios and his companion. Rios then takes out his firearm — which the Sheriff’s Office states was a ghost gun — and shoots at the two men in gray, hitting one of them. “Rios paused in his shooting, running past Officer Peña who had drawn his firearm and police badge” and verbally identified himself as an officer, the press release states.
Peña then orders “Rios to stop shooting and surrender,” the statement reads, but Rios doesn’t comply, shooting a second time at the group and toward an occupied restaurant across the street. One patron was injured from the flying debris, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The video then shows Officer Peña helping the woman safely get her kids from the car, all three running into the store as Peña stands guard outside and calls emergency services on his cell phone.
Rios was pronounced dead on the scene, and the other subjects involved, including the one struck by Rios’s shot, fled before deputies arrived. This video is posted on the Sheriff’s Office YouTube channel, and viewer discretion is advised as it contains violence and may be disturbing to some viewers.
The investigation remains ongoing, and detectives encourage anyone with information to contact the Criminal Investigations Division by calling (805) 681-4150. To report anonymously, call their tip line at (805) 681-4171 or go to SBSheriff.org.