Santa Maria Police Arrest Homicide Suspect

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Source: Santa Maria Police Department

On 12/26/15 there was a homicide in the area of East Jewel and North Vine Street in Santa Maria. Ramiro Ceja Gonzalez and Manuel Manzano Mata were both shot multiple times and died as a result of their injuries. No suspect was immediately identified.

On 7/4/16 there was a shooting in the 400 block of North Oakley and Bernardino DeJesus died as a result of his injuries. No suspect was immediately identified.

On 9/1/18 at 0058 hours there was a shooting in the area of Sunrise and Bradley. The victim was shot and stabbed and he died as a result of his injuries. He has since been identified as Cruz Alberto Chavez Sandoval (49 years), a resident of Santa Maria.

Santa Maria Police Detectives have been conducting ongoing investigations into each of these homicides and they have identified Rafael Santiago Lopez (23 years old), a resident of Nipomo, as a suspect in all four homicides. He is currently wanted for murder for the above noted cases and victims. SMPD Detectives have also identified Lopez' brother, Franklin Edgar Lopez (27 years old), a resident of Nipomo, as a suspect in the most recent homicide on 9/1/18.

In the early morning hours of 9/4/18, along with the assistance of Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department and the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department, the Santa Maria Police Department's SWAT Team served a search and arrest warrant in the 400 block of Orchard Road, in Nipomo. Franklin Lopez was arrested for the murder of Cruz Alberto Chavez Sandoval. Rafael Lopez was not located and he is currently on the run.

These investigations are still ongoing. The Santa Maria Police Department is requesting anyone with information on these homicides contact the SMPD Detective Bureau at (805) 928-3781 x 2278 or the SMPD Tip Line at (805) 928-3781 x 2677.

Franklin Edgar Lopez
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