TULARE COUNTY – A man has been arrested in connection to the murder of a teenager who was shot by someone in a passing car in July.
Uriel “Ojo” Magallanes, 19, was arrested on Nov. 20 on a no-bail murder warrant after investigators concluded their four-month investigation into the death of 18-year-old Cruz Medina.
On July 24, investigators found a turned over SUV on Road 156 and Avenue 362 near Ivanhoe. The SUV had rolled over several times and had come to a stop in a drainage ditch. The incident was initially reported as a crash.
County fire personnel investigated the accident and discovered Medina’s body at the bottom of the ditch, partly ejected from the vehicle. Two other victims, 26-year-old Joel Guzman and 19-year-old Gerardo Rodriguez, were sitting and standing outside of the car, respectively.
Medina, who had been a passenger in the car, was dead on the scene and officials discovered that Guzman was suffering from a gunshot wound. Investigators then saw that Medina had gunshot wounds as well. An autopsy later showed that while Medina had been shot in his ear, he died from blunt force trauma to the head from the accident.
The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department took over the investigation and learned that someone fired shots at the three men as they drove through the area. The driver was shot in the face, which led to the car accident, and ultimately Medina’s death.
Three days after the accident, detectives were able to develop information that led them to obtain search warrants for Magallanes’ residence. Evidence linking him to the crime were found at his home, including a vehicle that was later identified as the suspect vehicle. Magallanes was interviewed at that time, but later released.
Detectives were able to gather enough evidence to arrest Magallanes last week. They contacted him at his job in Orosi and he went in for questioning without incident. Magallanes was later arrested and booked into the Tulare County Main Jail on charges of murder and participating in a gang crime. He was arraigned in court yesterday.
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