Crime

Violence up in Santa Maria, most recent shooting Wednesday night

Bullets strike garage, truck

Violence up in Santa Maria with most recent shooting Wednesday night

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - After a relatively peaceful start to the year, Santa Maria police are trying to figure out why there's been a sudden rise in stabbings and shootings lately. Most recently, a shooting Wednesday night. 

Police say the city was doing so well - there wasn't a homicide in town until August but since then there's been a lot of violence in town. 

"Went down on the floor of my bed in case they were shooting inside to protect myself," Vivian Garcia said, who heard the gunshots. 

Up until Wednesday evenings shooting, Vivian Garcia says it was like any other night. 

"Well I was just in my room watching TV, then all of a sudden, I just heard gunshots," Garcia said.  

The shooting happened near the corner of Lazo Way and Rancho Verde. 

"To me it sounded like fireworks honestly," Garcia said. 

It wasn't fireworks though. Police say they aren't sure how many people were involved or a motive but say someone opened fire - with one bullet going through a home's garage door and another bullet going through the windshield of a nearby truck.

Luckily no-one was hurt.

"Honestly I'm really shocked," Garcia said. 

Garcia is really shocked because just last month on the same street, a 19-year-old man was shot dead. Investigators don't know if Wednesday night's shooting is connected. 

"There's a lot of kids around here, what if they get caught up in this," Garcia said. 

"We're not there when these events happen, often times neighbors have information and hunches, we'd like to hear these hunches," Santa Maria Police Lt. Russell Mengel said. 

Santa Maria police are trying to figure out why violence has gone up since the city's first homicide of the year in August. 

"That's not something you can figure out on paper, people have different motivations and different interactions.. this is about people and people getting along and making horrible decisions," Mengel said. "Both domestic violence, family disputes and gang memberships.. I think there's a heightened level of  awareness, what's occurred in Las Vegas has hit everyone in the U.S. and to have these things happen in our community.. we'd love for it to stop."

Police don't have a suspect but are following up on leads. If you have any information about these shootings, you're urged to contact the police department. You can remain anonymous. (805) 928-3781


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