Guadalupe police and fire department officials responded Saturday to a reported medical aid call at Roy’s Liquor and Market at 770 Guadalupe St. Officers found a male lying on the ground in front of the market, an apparent victim of a stabbing.
Officers determined that the victim was involved in an altercation that escalated to a stabbing. The stabbing victim, 24-year-old James Michael Christie, was transported to Marian Hospital in Santa Maria, where he died.
The Guadalupe Police Department requested the assistance of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department to conduct the murder investigation in conjunction with the Guadalupe Police Department. Through this joint effort, the investigation and information obtained allowed detectives to identify four suspects: Arturo Franco Palomar Jr., 25, Jose Juan Morales Jr., 27, Francisco Javier Rodriguez Jr., 30, and Leonel Adrian Torres, 24.
Early Wednesday, Guadalupe officers observed Morales exiting his residence and were able to take him into custody without incident. He was later booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of murder in lieu of $1 million bail.
Palomar, Rodriguez and Torres are still being sought. Anyone with information about them is asked to call the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department at 805.934.6170 or the Guadalupe Police Department at 805.343.2122.
Sgt. Alex Tipolt is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.