Local News

Aug 7, 2010 12:35 AM by Ariel Wesler

Police still searching for fifth suspect after standoff

Police are still searching for a fifth suspect involved in Thursday night's armed standoff in Santa Maria.

Officers surrounded a house with guns drawn for nearly six hours. It happened on the 200 block of west harding after an officer heard a gunshot For safety reasons, the swat team was called out and nearby homes were evacuated.

Like a scene out of a movie, police officers, SWAT Teams, and a helicopter descended on a Santa Maria neighborhood. Guns drawn, they surrounded a house on the corner of West harding and Pine street.

"They had some really good tactics and I think they actually psyched the people out, said 18-year old Erick Bochas, who witness the standoff.

Just before 5 p.m., an officer heard gun fire near the Alliance Gas Station on Donovan and Broadway.

Witnesses told police some kind of fight broke out in this alleyway near the 100 block of West Harding, and they believe one of those suspects had a shotgun.

The suspects then ran and entered the home where the standoff began. Bochas came outside to check on his sisters.

"They were playing in the front yard, one was getting ice cream and I saw all the officers and they told me to get in the house, lock the door, and stay inside," Bochas said.

Other neighbors were told to evacuate in case of crossfire. crowds filled the sidewalks for hours.

"Everybody's like, well I need to get in my house and then everybody's like well so does everybody else here. We can't go. Where do you live? I live over here. Oh yeah, well, I live across the street. You can't go in the house," said Isabel Chavez, who had to evacuate her house.

In all, four juvenile suspects were taken into custody. Police eventually got a search warrant to enter the home and believe a fifth suspect got away. Officers believe all five are involved with criminal street gangs.

Santa Maria police are also investigating a shooting at an auto repair shop near the alliance gas station. At this point, it's unclear whether the two incidents are related.

Anyone with more information should contact the Santa Maria Police Department.


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