Santa Paulan arrested on suspicion for early morning homicide

December 25, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times 

An ongoing dispute between two men ended early Sunday with a murder and the arrest later of a local man suspected of the shooting. 

The victim and the suspected shooter in the December 22 incident, Santa Paula Police Chief Steve McLean said Sunday, had been involved in an ongoing “personal dispute...”

Lt. Ish Cordero said officers responding to a 1:20 a.m. report of someone brandishing a weapon in the 200 block of South Garcia Street came upon an SUV that had rear-ended a parked pickup truck.

Inside the SUV, that had a shattered rear windshield, officers found an unresponsive 22-year-old male with a single-gunshot wound to the back of his head. 

When Santa Paula Fire EMTs and AMR paramedics responded to the scene they declared that the driver had died. 

The victim had crashed his SUV into the parked pickup behind Ruben’s Lounge located at 1247 E. Harvard Blvd. where Cordero said investigators determined both men had been drinking that evening.

“It looks like it was something that might have started inside the bar,” that Cordero said led to the victims  attempt to drive away when he was shot and crashed into the parked truck.

A witness told police a dark vehicle had quickly driven away from the scene following the shooting. 

Cordero said SPPD Detectives and patrol personnel, “worked tirelessly throughout the night and day on this investigation,” that led to information being developed as to the identity of the suspect, where he might be found and witnesses.

At about 10:30 a.m. detectives and other law enforcement personnel arrived at a home in the 300 block of N. 14th St. where Cordero said the suspect was taken into custody “without incident.” 

He was identified as Jesus Montejo Cardoso, 29, a resident of Santa Paula.

Although “No other arrests were made,” Cordero said several others present at the residence “were brought back to the station for interviews.”

A warrant was obtained to search the residence for any evidence of the crime and although a weapon was recovered Cordero said tests would determine if it was used in the homicide. 

Cardoso lives in the 100 block of North Oak Street and Cordero said the North 14th Street residence where he was found is, “A friend’s house...he was just partying there after that night at Ruben’s.”

Cardoso and the victim are Mexican nationals employed in the agricultural industry. 

So far the investigation has not shown that Cardoso has a criminal record and investigators believe the incident was not gang-related.

Cordero said Monday that the identity of the victim, who lived in the South Mountain area, would not be released until his next of kin is notified. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.

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