Santa Maria police ask for help from public in catching murder suspect

Alfredo Alaniz


The Santa Maria Police Department is asking the public to help find a man wanted for allegedly shooting and killing a teen in the northern Santa Barbara County city last month. 

At about 2 a.m. on May 16, a gunman shot and killed Mario Angel Merino Gonzalez, 19, in the area of Lincoln and Mill streets. The fatal shooting occurred amid an argument between the gunman and Gonzalez, according to the Santa Maria Police Department. 

On Thursday, police announced they identified the suspect in the murder as Alfredo Alaniz, 21. Alaniz, a Santa Maria resident, is 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighs about 210 pounds with black hair and green eyes. In addition, he has an “S” tattoo on his right cheek and a tattoo of a ship on the left side of his head.

Alaniz should be considered armed and dangerous, police said. Anyone who spots Alaniz is urged not to confront him and to instead contact law enforcement immediately.

The police department is requesting that anyone who has information about Alaniz contact Detective Preast at (805) 928-3781 ext. 1683.