Raymond Ramon Vega

A Lompoc man accused of fatally shooting a 15-year-old boy and two other people in 2019 has changed his plea in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

Raymond Ramon Vega, 28, was charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder for a shooting in Lompoc. He also faced several sentencing enhancements.

Vega was arrested a few days after 15-year-old Erik Villa Vargas was gunned down in an Oct. 12, 2019, incident that sent two other people to hospitals with injuries.

Lompoc police contend that the shootings in F Street gang territory involved rivals from Lompoc’s VLP gang, which Vega is believed to belong to based on tattoos. Before the shooting, one suspect reportedly asked the victims, “Do you bang?”

In all, 18 shots were fired from 9mm- and .45-caliber weapons, authorities said. 

During the preliminary hearing in 2020, the prosecution team played surveillance videos showing three people running from the scene with one wearing a blue, zip-up Dodgers jacket and another sporting a black and gray jacket.

At one parking lot on H Street, a surveillance video showed a man bending down near two bushes, presumably to stash some items. The prosecuting attorney suggested that the man hid his distinctive jacket and weapon under two bushes.

While the faces of those three suspects could not be seen in the videos, some of their clothing was visible. 

Additionally, a police officer who happened to stop Vega as he walked alone on H Street took his picture, pinpointing him as being in the area shortly after the shooting. 

Less than two weeks before the jury trial’s planned Feb. 6 start, Vega pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder along with admitting special allegations that the crimes benefited the VLP criminal gang and that he used a firearm. 

Under the agreement,Vega will be sentenced to 25 years to life for the crimes. The case is scheduled to return to court April 7 for Vega’s sentencing in Judge Patricia Kelly’s courtroom.

Scott Donahue, supervising deputy district attorney, led the prosecution team. Michael Scott has represented Vega.

The triple shooting occurred during a spike in homicides in Lompoc, leading the 15-year-old boy’s grieving mother to plead for safety. 

Vega has been in the custody of the Santa Barbara County Jail since mid-October 2019. 

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Janene Scully | Noozhawk North County Editor

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com.