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Local News

Orcutt Man, Wife Arrested in Connection With Fatal Shooting

Jonathan David Highley is facing murder charges in death of Anthony Steven San Juan of Santa Maria

A Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department K-9 team was brought in to assist the investigation of a fatal shooting early Saturday in Orcutt. Jonathan David Highley, 35, of Orcutt, was arrested on suspicion of murder in the death of Anthony Steven San Juan, 42, of Santa Maria. Click to view larger
A Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department K-9 team was brought in to assist the investigation of a fatal shooting early Saturday in Orcutt. Jonathan David Highley, 35, of Orcutt, was arrested on suspicion of murder in the death of Anthony Steven San Juan, 42, of Santa Maria. (Janene Scully /Noozhawk photo)

An Orcutt man and his wife have been arrested in connection with the early Saturday shooting that left a Santa Maria father dead in Old Town Orcutt.

Jonathan David Highley Click to view larger
Jonathan David Highley (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department identified the victim as Anthony Steven San Juan, 43, of Santa Maria.

At approximately 1:30 a.m., San Juan was found in the parking lot behind Elmer’s bar at 115 E. Clark Ave. after deputies responded to calls of a man with a gun and a shooting.

San Juan was declared dead at the scene with a fatal gunshot wound.

Jonathan David Highley, 35, of Orcutt, was taken into custody shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday while leaving his residence with his wife and four children, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said Sunday.

After the fatal shooting, detectives set up surveillance in the neighborhood where the suspect reportedly had fled.

Deputies arrested Highley after gathering evidence from the crime scene and interviewing several witnesses, Hoover said.

Investigators spent several hours at the crime scene and at a townhouse on nearby Park Avenue, about a block away.

The relationship between the two men and the motive for the shooting were not known, Hoover said.

Shortly after the shooting, neighbors reported receiving an emergency notification alert to shelter in place as deputies searched for the suspect.

While Orcutt residents worried about a killer being on the loose in the community, the Sheriff’s Department remained mum Saturday that the suspect was in custody.

Investigators do not believe other suspects were involved, Hoover said.

Highley was booked at County Jail on suspicion of murder, preventing or dissuading a witness by force or threat, assault with a firearm on a person, threatening a crime with intent to terrorize, and intentional/personal discharge of a firearm in commitment of a felony causing death.

Authorities requested he be held on $2 million bail.

Highley’s wife, Mayra Perez, 29, also was arrested and booked on an accessory charge, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Mayra Perez Click to view larger
Mayra Perez (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)

Hoover said Child Protective Services responded and took custody of the four children.

San Juan had attended St. Joseph High School, according the school’s social media sites, which noted the loss Sunday morning.

“God gained two angels this weekend. RIP Ryan Teixeira and SJ alum Tony San Juan. Our thoughts and prayers are with both of their families this morning and always,” the post noted.

Teixeira, 20, was an Arroyo Grande High School baseball star who lost his battle with cancer.

A GoFundMe page to raise $20,000 for San Juan’s family calls him “an amazing husband, father, son, friend and colleague.” In five hours Sunday, the site had raised more than $24,100. Click here to make an online donation.

San Juan, who graduated from California State University, Fresno with a bachelor’s degree in plant sciences, worked more than 15 years for Crop Production Services as a chemical marketing manager, on the Central Coast.

“Tony was a faithful husband and devoted father who lived to support, care for, and love his family,” the post read. “Tony was married to his wife, Sara, for almost 15 years.

“Tony will be greatly missed and was loved by many for his character, attitude, personality and friendships. Tony’s remembrance is a testament to his life and the many friends, family and people he touched throughout his life.

“Tony will be missed, but not forgotten.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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