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Two More Arrested in Connection with Lompoc Fatal Stabbing; City, Faith Leaders Call for Calm

Backed by city and faith leaders, Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh urges the community on Tuesday to remain calm after a gang-related fatal stabbing in the city.
Backed by city and faith leaders, Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh urges the community on Tuesday to remain calm after a gang-related fatal stabbing in the city. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Backed by Lompoc city and faith leaders united in calling for calm following a gang-related fatal stabbing, Police Chief Pat Walsh on Tuesday announced two more arrests in connection with the death.

The stabbing near North M Street and Maple Avenue killed 29-year-old Jesse Lara of Lompoc about 9 p.m. Saturday, the chief said.

In addition to Edward Dion Carter, police also have arrested Dequan Matthews, 18, plus a juvenile male, all on suspicion of homicide and participation in a criminal street gang.

Walsh stood in the council chambers with the city administrator, council members and local religious leaders.

“We stand together and we’re asking for calm in the community,” Walsh said. “We know we had a gang-related homicide. Tensions are high, and the potential for retaliation is real.”

Many of the pastors sported purple polo shirts signaling their role of belonging to the Lompoc Police Department Chaplain Corps.

“Again we ask that cooler heads prevail and allow the system to work,” Walsh said.

He urged others with information about the crime to call the Police Department.

Walsh said he and many of the clergy members have walked neighborhoods to talk to residents after recognizing emotions are running high following the death of Lara.

“The thing about this is that it’s a way of letting our young people know we care about them because they’re hurting,” Walsh added.

Lompoc stabbing
A memorial sits at the intersection of North M Street and Maple Avenue in Lompoc for Jesse Lara, who was stabbed multiple times and died Saturday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Officials asked that families, friends and neighbors of those mourning Lara’s death offer consolation along with counseling about avoiding retaliation.

“We do not need a summer that starts with violence,” Walsh said.

Nine Santa Barbara County Probation Department officers supported police during the investigation shortly after the slaying and continue to assist police, Walsh added.

The clergy members showed up to demonstrate their support for members of the Police Department. 

“I also would encourage the community that violence is never the right act. Taking someone’s life is never appropriate,” said Pastor Bernie Federmann, from Lompoc Foursquare Church.

For those who want to contact a clergy member, Federmann said residents could call the Police Department to reach one of the Chaplain Corps members. 

In addition to offering condolences for the victim’s family, Federmann also remembered the suspects’ families, noting a poor choice can have a ripple effect.

Pastor Darryl Fort from True Vine Bible Fellowship urged local residents to keep calm while the case works its way through the justice system. He also asked people to pray for the community.

Speaking to youths in the community, Fort said any of the pastors is available to talk at any time.

“We love Lompoc. We’re praying for unity here in our community,”  Fort said. “We’re praying for our leaders, for our mayor, for our chief and for our officers. We’re certainly praying for Lompoc. We want to keep this great city that it is.”

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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