Crime

Five charged in fatal Santa Barbara Eastside gang-related stabbing

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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

Murder charges were filed Friday against three people who allegedly stabbed a 29-year-old man to death last weekend in what police say was a gang-related attack on Santa Barbara’s Eastside.

A fourth suspect was charged with being an accessory to murder, and a female juvenile is facing charges that were not disclosed because of her age, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.

The adult suspects appeared for arraignment Friday afternoon before Superior Court Judge Clifford Anderson, but the matter was continued until Wednesday.

060719-Cacique-Murder-Suspects.jpg
Charges were filed Friday against four people — from left, Igor Rai Ortiz, Angel Rafael Barajas, Adelain Leilani Ibarra, and Alondra Ochoa — in connection with the June 1 slaying of Alberto Suarez Torres on Santa Barbara’s Eastside. Prosecutors say the killing was gang-related. Santa Barbara County Jail

The charges are connected to a fatal attack on Alberto Suarez Torres in the early morning hours on June 1 on Cacique Street.

According to the criminal complaint, the defendants are members of the Westside criminal street gang, and drove into rival Eastside gang territory to “tag” it with gang graffiti.

The complaint further alleges that one or more of the defendants encountered Torres, an alleged Eastside gang member, and chased him before fatally stabbing him.

At 1:15 a.m. Saturday, Santa Barbara police officers responded to the area, five blocks east of Milpas Street, after dispatchers received a 9-1-1 call reporting an assault. Alberto Suarez Torres Click to view larger Alberto Suarez Torres They found Torres unconscious after he suffered multiple stab wounds.

He was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Five people subsequently were arrested and charged in the case.

Igor Rai Ortiz, 19, Angel Rafael Barajas, 31, and Adelain Leilani Ibarra, 20, were charged with murder and gang enhancements, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Ortiz and Barajas were also charged with the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime, and Ortiz faces charges of committing the crimes while being out on bail in two pending felony cases, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Alondra Ochoa, 18, was charged with being an accessory to murder and a gang enhancement.

All four adult defendants have been charged with conspiracy to commit street terrorism, according to the complaint, which further alleges that all the defendants have criminal convictions for serious or violent felonies and gang enhancements.

The minor who was arrested will remain within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court for the time being, the District Attorney’s Office said.

“This investigation remains ongoing, and additional charges may be filed in the coming weeks,” prosecutors said in a statement.

The four adult defendants were being held without bail Friday afternoon at Santa Barbara County Jail. The juvenile’s custody status was not disclosed. Senior Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Siegel is prosecuting the case.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at tbolton@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.
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