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Friends and family remember Santa Maria man killed in stabbing

We now know the identity of a man who was stabbed to death in Santa Maria last night. Santa Maria police say that victim is 18-year-old Luis Alberto Castaneira of Santa Maria.

Castaneira was rushed to Marian Medical Center last night where he was pronounced dead. Today friends and family are in mourning.

“I just couldn’t believe it was him,” Erik Martines said, who’s a friend of the victim. “It just feels like if I came sooner I at least could’ve helped him out and he could still be here.”

Santa Maria Police say the stabbing happened just before 5 pm. The victim, 18-year-old Luis Alberto Castaneira of Santa Maria, later died at the hospital. Friends and family are grieving this tragic loss.

“Losing a very close friend, especially someone I grew up with in the same neighborhood as me,” Martines said.

Police say this is the first homicide in the city since July 4th. Investigators are not saying if this deadly stabbing is gang related.

“He did a lot of mistakes in his life but it shouldn’t happen to him, he knew what he was doing and he was trying to change himself to be a better person,” Martines said. “So I just feel sad that he didn’t get that chance.”

Police are still searching for a suspect and a motive is still unknown. Neighbors – who didn’t want to talk on camera – said the stabbing happened at a home off of Mcelhaney Street and that Castaneira ran to a home across the street for help.

“Just..just praying,” neighbor Ivan Lazara said.

Neighbor Ivan Lazara drove up to the scene Saturday night in shock.

“It’s just stuff like that where people are getting killed.. it’s just very, very sad,” Lazara said.

Police say they’re looking for leads.

“We’re kind of like a big family around here so it’s kind of hit everyone in the neighborhood kind of hard that he’s gone right now,” Martines said.

The family was still too shaken up to talk on camera but did tell us that he’ll be remembered as positive and intelligent – and that they’ll always miss him.

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