Crime

3 arrested in connection to fatal shooting of 19-year-old Santa Maria man

Thomas Castillo, Nicholas Guzman and Juan Contreras were arrested Thursday in connection to the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old Santa Maria man on Labor Day weekend.
Thomas Castillo, Nicholas Guzman and Juan Contreras were arrested Thursday in connection to the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old Santa Maria man on Labor Day weekend.

Three people have been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old man in northwest Santa Maria last Labor Day weekend.

At approximately 12:45 a.m. Sept. 3, 2017, officers were dispatched to a report of shots fired in the 2000 block of Lazo Way in a northwest neighborhood, according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

Officers found the victim, identified as Edward Jonathan Ramirez of Santa Maria, who had been shot while near the roadway.

Since that time, police detectives have continued investigating the shooting and, as a result, three suspects have been linked to the homicide, Lt. Paul Van Meel said Thursday.

The defendants in the case are:

  • Thomas Castillo, who faces charges of gang conspiracy to commit murder and gang conspiracy for possession of a firearm.

  • Nicholas Guzman, who faces charges of gang conspiracy to commit murder and gang conspiracy for possession of a firearm.

  • Juan Contreras, who faces charges of gang conspiracy to commit murder.

The fatal shooting reportedly occurred during a dispute involving Santa Maria’s rival criminal gangs, West Park and Northwest.

The case remains under investigation, Van Meel said.

The Santa Maria Police Department is requesting anyone with information on this homicide to call 805-928-3781, ext. 2278.

The tip line can be accessed by calling 805-928-3781, ext. 2677 or sending an anonymous tip via the Santa Maria Police Department website.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.
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