2nd suspect in Earlimart attack linked to robberies, kidnapping
TULARE COUNTY — On Friday, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office arrested a second suspect in the attempted murder of three teenagers that took place in Pixley on July 1 of this year. The suspect is also being linked to two armed robberies and a kidnapping from earlier this year.
An arrest warrant for a 17-year-old had been issued for the juvenile’s participation in the attempted murders. Detectives learned that the suspect initially fled to Mexico, but returned to the United States and was hiding out in an apartment in Bakersfield.
Around 4:05 p.m. on Oct. 1, detectives from the Violent Crimes, Gang Crimes and Narcotics units served a search warrant and the arrest warrant with the assistance of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team at an apartment in the 1200 block of E. Flower in Bakersfield. The suspect initially refused to come out of the apartment, officials said. After a short standoff, the suspect emerged and was taken into custody.
During a search of the apartment, gang indicia was located along with evidence related to the incident.
During this investigation, evidence also linked the juvenile suspect to two armed robberies that occurred in the Pixley and Terra Bella areas. The first armed robbery occurred on May 24 when Sergio Coria, 42, an employee at a recycling center out of Porterville was robbed at gunpoint, duct taped and kidnapped. He was left in a field several miles east of Pixley. The victim’s vehicle was stolen, along with an undetermined amount of cash and a cell phone, according to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.
Evidence also linked the 17-year-old suspect to an armed robbery that occurred at the Blanca Market on June 24 in the 19100 block of Ave 96 in Terra Bella. In that case, several suspects entered the market with handguns and duct-taped employees. None of the victims were injured during this incident. The suspects stole an undetermined amount of cash, along with several items from the store.
The suspect is being charged with attempted murder, armed robbery and kidnapping. He is being held at the Tulare County Juvenile Detention Facility.
Robert Rivera, 20, was arrested earlier this year in connection to the attempted murder case. On July 13, police arrested the suspect at his residence in Earlimart. During a search of the residence, detectives found the vehicle that was used in the crime. Two marijuana plants were also located at the residence and seized, according to officials.
The crime appears to be gang-related since “there is a gang enhancement charge added,” according to Tulare sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Douglass.