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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on October 4th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 31 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 31

Lompoc Police seize most guns in department history

By SPENCER COLE

The Lompoc Police Department seized the most firearms in its history following a series of mid-September raids connected to a gang fight at a local bar.

“Ten guns on one case—that’s a lot of guns,” Police Chief Pat Walsh told reporters at a press conference on Sept. 27. “That’s really quite a bit of guns for any jurisdiction, but for us, that’s a lot.”

The seizures came in the wake of an investigation of a felony assault that occurred during a fight between rival gang members at an unnamed Lompoc bar in late August. Police identified four suspects: Damian Castillo, 31; Gustavo Garcia, 21; Anthony Arroyo, 19; and Luis Parra, 29.

All suspects have been previously convicted of violent crimes.

Walsh declined to identify which gang the men belonged to.

“Our policy is not [to] give them any more notoriety,” he said.

Detectives obtained and served search warrants at multiple locations in the city beginning on Sept. 12, according to a department press release announcing the seizures. That day, law enforcement confiscated six weapons and nearly 700 rounds of ammunition. At least one of the guns was stolen, while two others had their serial numbers scratched off.

On Sept. 14, detectives seized an additional four handguns and 200 rounds of ammo from Arroyo’s vehicle. At least two of the weapons were stolen.

Walsh said Arroyo was also believed to be connected to the July 4 shooting of three men in an alley off the 800 block of F and G streets. Arroyo is currently facing three counts of attempted murder, as well as the pending assault and firearm charges. He was previously convicted of a violent felony “committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang,” according to the release.

Castillo and Garcia were both arrested that same week in mid-September along with Arroyo. Castillo faces the same assault charge as Arroyo, along with felony firearm possession and participation with a criminal street gang. Garcia faces assault and gang charges. Both have prior violent felony convictions for gangs, the release said.

Parra still remains at large. He is wanted for assault with a deadly weapon and participation with a criminal street gang.

At the Sept. 27 press conference, Walsh called for the remaining suspect to turn himself in.

“I think if he were hearing this, it would be a good idea,” he said.

Anyone with information regarding the shootings involving the suspects is encouraged to call Sgt. Agustin Arias at 875-8121.

“I’m very proud of the work that’s been done on this case,” Walsh said, adding the city had not seen a shooting since July 4. “We’ve been concerned this summer. We’ve had a rash of shootings—about eight shootings this summer that we are still investigating—and we have a good indication that these individuals or their associates are responsible for those shootings as well.”

The three suspects’ arraignment began Sept. 21 and will continue on Oct. 26.




Weekly Poll
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At the beach, sunset.
When out with friends, selfies!
With family, group shots for the memories.
At restaurants, of my food.

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