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Crime

2 killed, 2 hospitalized in Santa Barbara Eastside shooting

Liberty shooting
John Palminteri/KEYT
Liberty shooting
Santa Barbara Police shooting eastside liberty street 10321
Blake DeVine / KEYT
Liberty shooting
Four victims are hospitalized on the Santa Barbara Eastside after a Sunday night shooting. (Photo: John Palminteri)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Santa Barbara police are investigating a double-homicide on the lower Eastside that happened Sunday evening. Two others were injured and rushed to the hospital. All were young men.

Police say one of the deceased is 18-year-old Omar Hernandez. The other is a minor.

Officers responded along with AMR, and Santa Barbara City Fire to the area of Liberty Street and South Soledad Street around 5:51 p.m.

There they determined at least one person had approached several victims on foot near Canada and Liberty Street around 5:40 p.m. The shooting then occurred.

"When officers arrived they found multiple gunshot victims. Two victims were later deceased," said Santa Barbara Police Community Engagement Manager Anthony Wagner.

It is unclear how many shots were fired. One resident said he heard a rapid-fire of shots that he believed was from a handgun.

A bloody shirt was found tossed into a pickup truck on the south side of the street.

On Monday, Wagner confirmed all four victims were transported to Cottage Hospital.

On Sunday, it was announced that at least one victim had died. Monday's updates confirmed a second victim died. Police said both of the victims were given CPR in an AMR ambulance but died at the hospital.

The two other victims were alert. One had a wound to his upper left arm and was being treated with a wrap as he sat on a curbside.

Another person was wounded in his foot. He was treated, released and is back home.

Many residents including children were in the area as first responders helped the wounded victims.

The scene was cordoned off all night while police investigated. Detectives were called in to assist the shift officers.

The investigation the following morning involved a walking search for evidence including bullet casings.

The entire SBPD Investigative Bureau has been deployed to look into this incident. This is considered a very active investigation.

"That includes going door to door talking to neighbors. It also includes a video canvass to see what leads transpire," said Wagner.

Many residents provided information to detectives.

Police said this is being investigated as a gang-related event. They are searching for at least one suspect who reportedly fled the scene.

Evidence shows the victims did not have guns and Wagner said there was no evidence that shots were fired back by the victims.

The names of those involved have not been released.

At the scene, a neighbor, Alex Perez, brought a candle to "pay respects" towards the family and the loss of their child. "All the street violence and everything, it's just sad," Perez said. "How can (someone) kill someone because of a street gang?"

He heard the gunshots. "I was actually up the street. I saw when the cops came. I saw when they did CPR and all that right here and it is really sad... really sad."

If anyone has any information about this or any other criminal activity, they are urged to contact the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Santa Barbara - South County
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Jessica Brest

Jessica Brest is a digital journalist and assignment editor for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Jessica, click here.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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