Crime

Santa Maria man in custody in fatal shooting of soldier as Lompoc police seek second suspect

Lompoc police identified two suspects in the Sept. 8 homicide of a soldier home on leave, and said one had turned himself in and the second suspect remained on the loose Thursday.

Santa Maria man Francisco GutierrezOrtega, 24, was in custody, but police were still seeking Walter Alexander Morales Jr., 25, of Lompoc, Capt. Kevin Martin said.

“We’re working everything we can,” Martin said about efforts to locate Morales.

The men have been identified as suspects responsible for fatally shooting Army Spc. Marlon Brumfield, 22, of Lompoc.

Just before 2 a.m. Sept. 8, personnel from the Lompoc police and fire departments responded to the report of a shooting at the area of Ocean Avenue and A Street.

Officers found Brumfield on the ground with multiple gunshots wounds, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives identified two suspects believed to be involved in the shooting and at approximately 9 p.m. Wednesday, Santa Maria and Lompoc police served an arrest warrant at GutierrezOrtega’s residence on Valley Vista.

GutierrezOrtega was not home at the time.

Lompoc detectives spoke with the suspect’s family and shared the importance of having the man turn himself into police, Martin said.

At 8 a.m. Thursday, Lompoc detectives received a call from the Santa Maria police that GutierrezOrtega has turned himself in at the Santa Maria station.

Lompoc police detectives traveled to Santa Maria to pick up the suspect

GutierrezOrtega is currently in custody at the Lompoc City Jail, where he was being held without bail for suspicion of homicide and conspiracy, according to police.

Police are looking for the whereabouts of Morales, the second suspect, and ask anyone with information to call 805-736-2341 or 911.

Morales is described as Hispanic, 5 feet 4 inches tall, and 140 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, according to police.

He also has multiple tattoos including “Griselda” on his neck, “VLP” on his left arm, “Elisa” and a rocking L on his right arm, “LOM” on his left leg, “POC” on his right leg, “Morales” on his back and “805” on his left jaw and neck.

Some of his tattoos suggest Morales affiliates with the criminal street gang known as VLP, according to police.

While police said they suspected gang activity contributed to the shooting, they emphasized there was no indication the victim had any involvement in gangs.

The Lompoc Police Department will seek prosecution of any person found to be aiding and abetting Morales, Martin said.

A funeral service for Brumfield is planned for 2 p.m. Saturday at True Vine Bible Fellowship in Lompoc.

Meanwhile, visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Starbuck Lind Mortuary.

Additionally, a march to stand in solidarity against violent crimes will occur at 7 p.m. Friday, beginning at A Street and Ocean Avenue before traveling to the courtyard at Lompoc City Hall for a candlelight vigil and ceremony.

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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