The Lompoc Police Department arrested four individuals on July 29 in connection with the shooting-death of Francisco Garcia, 30, on July 27. The shooting occurred on West Chestnut Ave., and the victim was pronounced deceased at the Lompoc Valley Medical Center.
FILE PHOTO COURTESY OF LOMPOC PD
WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME The Lompoc Police Department said that homicide victim Francisco Garcia was not the intended victim in a shooting that appears to be gang related.
Emanuel Cruz, 32, two 16-year-old male juveniles, and a 15-year-old male juvenile were arrested.
Sgt. Vincent Magallon said that the shooting is believed to be gang related, though the investigation is ongoing.
“It looks like the victim in the case was not the intended victim, but just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when the shooting occurred, and ultimately was hit,” Magallon said.
The shooting is the third homicide of the year in Lompoc, Magallon said.
“In general I would say that there’s been an increase in gang activity over the last few months,” he said, adding that the department cannot definitively determine the cause of that increase.
Magallon encouraged the public to direct any information to the police department.
“As far as this case goes, even after the arrest we’re still conducting investigations so any other information is always helpful,” Magallon said. “As far as gang activity overall in the city, it’s always important to let us know what’s going on. I know that there’s always a reluctance to report gang crime to us, but that information really helps us.”
The uptick in gang violence is something that organizations in Lompoc are hoping to address and curb in the future. The Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara County
is hosting a virtual workshop titled “Youth Culture and Gang Activity in Lompoc” on Aug. 16 “to help parents understand more about gangs in the Lompoc community and what they can do if they suspect their child is involved with one,” a press release states.
Those interested can register online at bethedifferencesb.org