Ventura County

Arrest Made in Santa Paula Stray Bullet Death

Arrest Made in Santa Paula Stray Bullet Death

SANTA PAULA, Calif. - Santa Paula police officers are making progress in a gang related shooting that killed an innocent mother of two.

Thirty-two-year old Mark James Martinez was arrested early Tuesday morning.  Police say he is one of the primary suspects involved in a gang related shooting that left an innocent bystander dead.

Police say 39-year old Norma Elizalde was doing laundry inside her home Saturday afternoon on the 1200 block of High st. in Santa Paula, when a stray bullet from the gang fight struck and killed her.

Santa Paula Police Chief Steve Mclean is outraged by the incident.  He is now sending a warning to the gangs in his town.

"I am responsible for the security and safety of everybody in this community.  As long as I am the chief here, I am not going to have it these gang bangers better sleep with one eye open as far as I'm concerned," said Mclean.  "This police department is not going to tolerate criminals of any kind. (This arrest) sends a message to the gang bangers and that's either knock your crap off or get the hell out of santa paula."

Elizalde was a mother of two.  She lived with her husband and their 13-year old and 16-year old sons.  Her brother and sister live next door.  Her brother Nicolas Ramos says he was standing outside when the shooting happened, "I saw an altercation, and after it all settled down my nephew ran out of the house saying my mom is shot."

Elizalde worked at an optometrist's office.  Her brother says his sister was well loved, and that she loved to read.  Ramos said his sister would read for hours and even like volunteering to read at the local library. "I loved her, we loved her, and I know you are with our mom now," said Ramos.

Officers are still looking for suspects involved in this murder.  Anyone can information about the incident can call authorities anonymously at 805-525-4474.

A fund to help Elizalde's family pay for funeral expenses is set up with Go Fund Me.

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