Lompoc police investigating string of suspected gang-related shootings over span of 2 weeks

LOMPOC, Calif. - Lompoc police are having a hard time investigating a string of suspected gang-related shootings in the last few days.

Authorities say there's a surge in gang crimes this year with the most recent incident taking place on Friday on the 300 of West Maple Avenue. According to investigators, the shooting victim is a known gang member who isn't cooperating with police. 

“It was quite a significant event. There were nine shots fired at this residence where [the victim] lives and for him not to provide any information, for nobody to have seen anything, is highly unlikely,” said Sergeant Augustin Arias of Lompoc Police Department.

The man, a Hispanic male, received a single non-life threatening wound in the torso area. The victim told officials that he was walking his dog when he felt something strike him in the back. He refused to give any other information to authorities.

At this time, police are hoping to hear from anybody who might have witnessed the attack.

“The neighborhood knows who's involved in gang violence and in gang activities," said Arias. "They're real reluctant to provide any information to law enforcement due to the fact that they have to live there, not us. And the police come in but we can't be there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

Authorities recently made an arrest into another gang-related shooting investigation. 

On Easter Sunday at around 5 p.m., several shots were fired in the area of College Avenue and T Street. Some witnesses provided a description of two vehicles suspected to have been involved. 

As officers arrived at the intersection of Hickory Avenue and F Street, one of the vehicles, a speeding SUV, was located after it had collided into other parked cars. The suspect, 18-year-old Salvador Lemus of Lompoc, was seen getting out of the truck and running into an alley.

A witness saw Lemus slow down and throw a shiny object into a nearby backyard, which police located and discovered to be a handgun. Once Lemus was caught, he was taken into custody and booked into the Lompoc City Jail. 

A third shooting was reported a block away at Lompoc High School on April 12.

According to Sgt. Arias it happened soon after school was let out.

"A suspect shot about five rounds towards another group of subjects, then got back into his vehicle and fled the area," Arias said.

Police want to remind people that they can make anonymous tips by calling 805-736-2341, or via the Lompoc Police Department app.

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