A fugitive suspected in the murder of a United States Army soldier, as well as two recent shootings in Lompoc, was arrested Friday following an approximately seven-hour standoff in Santa Maria.
Walter Morales Jr., 26, had been on the run since last September, after he allegedly shot and killed Marlon Brumfield, 22, in Lompoc. Brumfield was home on a month-long leave at the time. Police said the killing was random and unprovoked.
Following the fatal shooting, one of the two suspects, Francisco Gutierrez Ortega, turned himself in and was arrested. But, Morales got away.
Then on the evening of July 11, Morales allegedly carried out two drive-by shootings in Lompoc. In one of the incidents, Morales allegedly chased and shot at a vehicle with several people, including children, inside.
On Friday, Lompoc police officers served an arrest warrant for Morales at a home in Santa Maria. Santa Maria police and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s SWAT Team assisted with the search.
Following the approximately seven-hour standoff, Morales was forced out of the home. Officers arrested Morales and booked him in the Santa Barbara County Jail on a murder charge.
Lompoc police thank the community for providing tips that helped bring Morales into custody.