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Santa Barbara man, teen charged with murder in double-homicide near Goleta

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office announced that Bryan Munoz and an unnamed minor have been charged with murder in the double-homicide that took place near Goleta on Jan. 7.

The initial shooting happened around 1 p.m. on the 600 block of Burtis Street and was a result of what detectives called a drug deal gone bad.

Two 19-year-old men sustained gunshot wounds to the head during the incident. One was pronounced dead at the scene and the other died weeks later at the hospital.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies investigated the incident for over 2,000 hours until they identified and arrested Bryan Munoz and a 15-year-old boy in connection to the murders.

Munoz and the minor were arrested on two counts of murder each after deputies served a search warrant at several locations in Santa Barbara. Charges were filed in adult and juvenile court separately on Monday.

The District Attorney's Office said they believe "the murders were committed for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with the Westside criminal street gang in Santa Barbara County, in order to promote, further or assist in any criminal conduct by gang members on or about January 7, 2021."

Due to the multiple murder charges, the DA said Munoz is eligible for the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

Because the minor was charged in juvenile court, he is subject to being a ward of the court until age 25.

In addition to the murder charges, Munoz and another man arrested during this investigation named Joshua Vega face charges for conspiracy to commit a robbery on Jan. 7.

Munoz is believed to have planned the robbery for the benefit of the Westside street gang.

Munoz was scheduled to be arraigned for the above charges in Department 8 of the Superior Court of Santa Barbara on Monday, but it was continued to Feb. 16.

Joshua Vega is scheduled to be arraigned for the conspiracy to commit robbery in Department 8 of the Superior Court of Santa Barbara on April 5. He faces a maximum of five years in the state prison.

The 15-year-old minor will be arraigned on the above charges in juvenile court.

Additionally, Sheriff’s detectives said they impounded the vehicle that was used by the suspects during the shooting.

The car, a 2015 black Nissan Altima, was found in the Ventura area on Friday.

Sheriff's detectives said they are interested in hearing from anyone who may have seen the suspects or the vehicle during or after the murder.

Detectives would also like to encourage anyone who has been similarly robbed to contact Sheriff’s Detectives at 805-681-4150, or leave an anonymous tip at 805-681-4171 or SBSheriff.org

Article Topic Follows: Crime & Courts

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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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