Two murders in three days in Santa Maria

Erik Fernandez Rocha

By KAREN VELIE

For the second time in a span of less than three days, a fatal shooting occurred in Santa Maria, according to the city’s police department. 

The first of the two killings occurred early Friday morning, and police have already arrested the alleged gunman in that case. The second fatal shooting occurred at about 10 p.m. Sunday in the area of Boone and Curryer streets. 

Shortly after Sunday night’s shooting, officers arrived at the scene and found a male victim lying in the street with a gunshot wound. Medics arrived and transported the victim to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

A preliminary investigation indicates the gunman was involved in an altercation with a group of people. During the altercation, the suspect brandished a gun and shot the victim, according to the Santa Maria Police Department. 

Investigators have yet to identify the suspect. Authorities are withholding the name of the victim while relatives are notified.

Anyone who has information about Sunday nights shooting is asked to contact the Santa Maria Police Department at (805) 928-3781 ext. 2277.

Less than three days earlier, at about 2 a.m. on Friday, 20-year-old Erik Fernandez Rocha shot and killed Frankie Placido Hernandez, 29, according to the Santa Maria Police Department. Police located Rocha Saturday evening while he was riding his bicycle on Donovan Road near Elm Street.

Officers arrested Rocha and booked him in the Santa Barbara County Jail for murder. The motive of Friday morning’s killing is under investigation, though police say the shooting did not appear to be gang related. 

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