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Two Men Fatally Wounded in Santa Maria Street Shootings

Police investigating after gunshots claim two lives near Main Street and Oakley Avenue

Crime-scene investigators gather evidence Tuesday night after two men were fatally wounded in shootings on a Santa Maria street.
Crime-scene investigators gather evidence Tuesday night after two men were fatally wounded in shootings on a Santa Maria street. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Two people were shot to death Tuesday night in Santa Maria, the first homicides of the year in a city that has seen an epidemic of street violence in recent months.

The victims — both 23-year-old men — died after being gunned down in the vicinity of West Main Street and South Oakley Avenue, according to Lt. Dan Cohen of the Santa Maria Police Department.

One died at the scene, and the other was declared dead after being taken to Marian Regional Medical Center.

The men were walking north on Oakley on the eastern sidewalk shortly after 6:30 p.m. when they were shot, Police Chief Ralph Martin told Noozhawk. 

Shell casings were strewn across about 20 yards, leading police to suspect the victims were chased prior to the shootings. Detectives were trying to determine how many shooters were involved.

"We hope to have some video from some of the surrounding area here, the businesses, that might help us out," Martin said. 

On Wednesday, police identified the victims as Santa Maria residents Aaron Sanchez-Hernandez, who died at the scene, and Javier Murillo-Sanchez, who died at the hospital.

Police Chief Ralph Martin and Cmdr. Phil Hansen confer Tuesday night near the scene of a double homicide in Santa Maria. Click to view larger
Police Chief Ralph Martin and Cmdr. Phil Hansen confer Tuesday night near the scene of a double homicide in Santa Maria. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

"We have several witnesses so we hope to gain some more information very shortly," Martin said.

This is the second double homicide in Santa Maria since late December, and brings the number of slayings in the city to 17 since December 2014.

"It's obviously something going on. We're going to try to get to the bottom of it," Martin added.

Police had not yet determined whether the shootings were related to gang activity or other shootings in recent months, but some six detectives were at the scene, with others at the hospital investigating the homicides.

The spike in violence has claimed the lives of three teenagers since summer. 

"This certainly isn't the way to end your troubles," Martin said. "There's other ways to handle things. Obviously, we're seeing a spike in violence in the north part of Santa Maria."

Santa Maria police urge anyone with information about the incident to contact the agency at 805.928.3781.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

Noozhawk North County Editor Janene Scully reported from the scene.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton 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.

Police tape blocks off the scene at Main Street and Oakley Avenue in Santa Maria Tuesday night after two men were fatally shot. Click to view larger
Police tape blocks off the scene at Main Street and Oakley Avenue in Santa Maria Tuesday night after two men were fatally shot. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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