Saturday, March 25 , 2017, 2:56 am | A Few Clouds 56º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Three More Suspects Arrested in Lower De la Vina Street Slaying

A total of six Santa Barbara residents are in custody in connection with the Saturday night slaying of 22-year-old Baldemar Leal.

With the 400 block of De la Vina Street blocked off, Santa Barbara police combed the neighborhood for evidence in a Sunday morning homicide.
With the 400 block of De la Vina Street blocked off, Santa Barbara police combed the neighborhood for evidence in a Sunday morning homicide. (Michelle J. Wong / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara police have arrested a total of six suspects in connection with the death of a man whose body was discovered early Sunday in the 400 block of De la Vina Street.

Michele Murillo Flores, 30; Imelda Nava Guevara, 30; Liliana Arryaga, 18; Andre Balderaz, 35; Jonathan Alonzo, 20; and David Anthony Martinez, 21, have all been arrested for the alleged murder and conspiracy to commit the murder of 22-year-old Baldemar Leal, whose body was found Sunday morning, face down along the sidewalk.

Sgt. Jill Beecher, a department spokeswoman, said officers found Leal about 6:50 a.m. Sunday when they responded to what they thought was a routine welfare call to check on the state of someone who could be injured or overly intoxicated. Leal was pronounced dead at the scene of multiple stab wounds to his upper torso.

According to police, a witness saw four people assaulting the victim around 9:30 p.m. Saturday. The same witness reported seeing those people running south on De la Vina and getting in a vehicle, while the victim ran north. The victim later collapsed and died of his injuries, police said.

Police announced the arrest of three individuals Monday, but after further investigation, they arrested two more people Monday afternoon and one on Tuesday morning. All the suspects live in Santa Barbara and are connected to a local criminal street gang, police said. While none of them were booked for gang activity, detectives are asking the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office to review the investigation and consider filing criminal street gang enhancement charges based on what they called the conspiracy aspect of the case.

The victim appeared to have been known to some of his attackers. A nine-year Santa Barbara resident, Leal had only been living in the 400 block of De la Vina Street for two days before the assault, police said. Leal has not been connected to any gang activity.

“I’m going to be on edge for a while,” said neighbor Ian Suleiman, who found the dead man Sunday morning and called 9-1-1. “I’m really shaken by this.”

Neighbors gathered in small groups to watch the police investigation unfold near Brownie's Market on the corner of De la Vina and Haley streets.
Neighbors gathered in small groups to watch the police investigation unfold near Brownie’s Market on the corner of De la Vina and Haley streets. (Michelle J. Wong / Noozhawk photo)
“This is very concerning to the Lower Westside downtown neighbors,” said Christina Pizarro, who has lived in the area for three years. Only a couple of blocks away, she said, there was another murder in December.

Early on Dec. 11, Lawrence Glenn Kaiser, 45, was fatally stabbed at 231 W. Haley St. A housemate of Kaiser’s was arrested in the case. The suspect’s girlfriend was later arrested on charges of aiding and abetting.

Anyone with information about the De la Vina incident is asked to call police at 805.897.2344.

Noozhawk intern Michelle Wong contributed to this report. Write to [email protected]

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