Witnesses must give information to help expedite murder arrests
February 21, 2003
Santa Paula News
Witnesses will be key in solving the double weekend murder of two Santa Paula gang members, according to the lead detective on the case.
SPPD Det. Ish Cordero said investigators are still looking into the slaying of Ignacio Henry Castro, 23 and Gustavo Ramirez, 21, both of Santa Paula.
By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesWitnesses will be key in solving the double weekend murder of two Santa Paula gang members, according to the lead detective on the case.SPPD Det. Ish Cordero said investigators are still looking into the slaying of Ignacio Henry Castro, 23 and Gustavo Ramirez, 21, both of Santa Paula.Castro had been home from a state prison for only two weeks when he was shot once in the head at about 1 a.m. on Sunday following a loud party on Encino Place near Richmond Road.Ramirez’s body was discovered almost four hours later on Encino Place near Say Road with one fatal gunshot wound to the upper chest. Castro died at about 11 a.m. Sunday in the Head Trauma Unit of Ventura County Medical Center.“We’re still investigating and trying to locate witnesses and any information that could lead to other witnesses who attended the party,” said Det. Cordero. “We have a party, have a shooting, have a dead person, then another dead person and all of a sudden we don’t have any witnesses. We’ll keep digging along to find witnesses.”Both men belonged to area gangs.
Castro was a member of the Party Boyz and had an extensive criminal record, including 1998 felony convictions for possessing a controlled substance and a robbery. The separate crimes occurred within months of each other. Castro had an ongoing case from 1999 in which he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit a crime.Ramirez had recently been released from Ventura County Jail after serving a 30-day sentence for a hit-and-run incident. Since 1999, Ramirez, a member of the Poco Locos gang, has been charged with more than a dozen crimes and was convicted for resisting arrest, vehicle burglary and possession of a deadly weapon, among other offenses.Det. Cordero asked that any witnesses “call us at 525-4474 or call the Tip Hot Line and leave an anonymous message,” at 933-4253 and then pressing 1 and # (pound).Det. Cordero noted that although both Castro and Ramirez were gang members, “it doesn’t mean the murders were gang related incidents. . .we don’t know that yet for sure though all indications point to gang activity.”It is up to witnesses to help solve the cases: “If they step up it would expedite the matter and lead to a prosecution.”Witnesses historically remain silent when they have knowledge of crimes related to gang activity or involving gang members. “They are held hostage by the fear of retaliation,” said Det. Cordero, “and as long as that happens society as a whole will have no control over crime.”