Another Santa Barbara County murder, four killed in first week of year

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

In a bloody first week of 2021, four people were shot and killed in Santa Barbara County, while another three suffered bullet wounds.

At about 1 p.m. on Thursday, a caller reported a shooting in Goleta. Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene on Burtis Street in Goleta and found one person dead and another wounded from gunshot wounds. Both were seated in a car, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

Patrol deputies, along with a K9 and a helicopter, searched the area for the shooter, and the sheriff’s office issued a shelter in place order. But, deputies did not locate a suspect.

Last Saturday, 35-year-old Robert Anthony Molina allegedly shot and killed Kevin Alan Najarro in Santa Maria, according to the city’s police department. This week, detectives booked Molina into the Santa Barbara County Jail on a murder charge. In this case, officers do not suspect gang ties.

On Sunday, a shooting in Santa Barbara left two victims dead and two others injured. Officers were searching for at least one suspect, and the shooting appeared to be gang-related, Santa Barbara police said. 

Additionally, another shooting occurred in Santa Barbara on Monday, though no one was injured. As Santa Barbara police were investigating Monday’s shooting, a driver slammed into two patrol cars, and officers arrested the man for DUI.