(Updated Tuesday 10:00 p.m.)
Police say three shootings in less than a week could be attributed to rival gang activity in Lompoc.
Officers think two separate drive-by shootings Monday, targeting the same neighborhood are gang related.
Cars parked along North E Street were sprayed with bullets, glass and costly repairs awaited many residents Tuesday morning.
“Here we are headed into the holidays and I have to fix my car,” said a woman who asked us to conceal her identity amid safety concerns.
Shock and distress is how this woman feels after two shootings took place in her neighborhood, just hours apart.
“It’s been going downhill. We’ve been living here for six almost seven years and it’s definitely been going the wrong direction. We’ve had a lot of graffiti in the last few weeks and now this is happening,” she said.
The first round of shots rang out Monday just after 4:45 p.m. outside an apartment complex along the 700 block. Police say a vehicle occupied by several alleged gang members shot at another group of gang members in broad daylight.
“While the shooting took place there was children outside playing, mothers outside watching their children and other innocent bystanders. Typically this is uncommon to have drive-by shootings, both shootings that happened in the same block last night were from a moving vehicle with the potential for innocent parties to be hurt,” said Sgt. Agustin Arias.
Investigators say eight people were seen running from the scene and five to six rounds of shell casings were recovered.
Later that same evening, around 9:15 p.m. more shots were fired in the same spot and officers found a 16-year-old boy shot in the leg.
“They left and came back in a different car to try and surprise the victims so they went to that extreme and also they must have somebody in the neighborhood that’s telling us or telling them when the police is there and when the police is not there or when there’s a group of people outside, it’s quite alarming,” said Sgt. Arias.
Back in August, within a two week period, Lompoc Police Investigated several gang-related shootings in a nearby alleyway. Arias says gang members have evaded their surveillance and have simply moved from the alley out to the street.
“These guys hadn’t been in that area and as soon as they came back, look what happened, two in one day,” said Sgt. Arias.
Community members remain on edge.
“If we could relocate, we would pick a different neighborhood but this is where our financial situation has us,” said the anonymous woman.
Sgt. Arias is trying to get through to the parents of these alleged gang members.
“I’ve been trying to talk to some of the moms of these juveniles. It’s their responsibility, get your kids inside of the house. They’re not 18, they’re not adults, they live with you, it’s your responsibility to take your children and keep them inside your house, especially with the amount of violence that we’ve had. This is the third shooting in less than a week,” said Sgt. Arias.
The suspects are described as Hispanic young adults or juveniles.
The victim was airlifted to Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara for treatment. Arias says he’s in stable condition.
Police officers responded to two separate shootings in Lompoc Monday night.
The first was a reported drive-by shooting that happened at 4:46 p.m. on the 700 block of N. E Street.
No injuries were reported, but officers believe the shooting is gang-related. Authorities say there were children playing with families outside their homes when the incident happened.
The shooter was described as a Hispanic male who was shooting from a moving car at another group of Hispanic males, police said.
Eight people were seen running from the area after the shooting happened with the suspects who shot from the moving car left southbound through the neighborhood and then westbound, according to investigators.
SECOND SHOOTING, SAME LOCATION
The second shooting happened at about 9:11 p.m. in the same area — 700 block of N. E Street.
When officers arrived, they found a 16-year-old boy shot in the leg. He was taken to Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. His identity is not being released because of his age, police said.
Police have not named any suspects in the second shooting.
Investigators discovered several expanded shell casings in the middle of the roadway of the 700 block of N. E Street.
Anyone with information on any of these two shootings is asked to call the Lompoc Police Investigations Bureau at 805-736-2341.