SANTA BARBARA COUNTY – In the early evening hours of January 12th, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s detectives, working in close concert with the Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Team, quietly entered the notorious Tanglewood area within the City of Santa Maria—widely regarded by law enforcement and members of the public as a center of North County gang activity and random violence—and executed a search warrant on the residence of Rudolph Paul Rojas, 28, on suspicion of attempted murder.
Rojas had been sought as a suspect in a rifle shooting that took place on the morning of Sunday, January 8th, which was reported to law enforcement by medical staff at the Marian Medical Center Emergency Room following the arrival of Sergio Marquez, 27, who was suffering from a gunshot wound to the neck. According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff Public Information Officer Drew Sugars, “Deputies responded to the hospital and learned the identity of the shooter from the victim.”
Investigating that information further, Sheriff’s detectives learned that Rojas and Marquez had fought at Rojas’ home early Sunday morning, and that Rojas had fired at Marquez with a rifle. Pursuant to that information, search and arrest warrants naming Rojas were issued.
As SBSD detectives staged personnel around Rojas’ home, Rojas apparently became aware of law enforcement personnel approaching and, as detailed in Sugars’ statement to the media, “he attempted to immediately flee the area, but was apprehended without incident.” The Rojas residence was subsequently searched, and deputies recovered the rifle believed to have been used in the shooting, along with methamphetamine and further evidence of a drug sales operation.
Rojas was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on multiple charges, including attempted homicide, discharging a firearm at an inhabited dwelling, possession of a firearm and ammunition, and possession of methamphetamine for sales. His bail is currently set at $1,000,000.
Also taken into custody pursuant to the service of warrants was Alicia Anica Hernandez, 20, who has been charged with aiding and abetting Rojas in his escape and evasion attempts while aware of his having committed a felony. “Additional charges may be filed,” said Sugars.
Santa Maria Times: 2 arrested in Tanglewood shooting case
ksby.com: Man arrested for attempted murder days after Santa Maria area shooting
Lompoc Record: Two arrested in Jan 8 shooting
Photos courtesy of Santa Barbara County Jail Booking; R.L. McCullough