Soledad and Greenfield police made an arrest in a double homicide case after performing a probation search on Wednesday at around 8:19 a.m. in the 400 block of San Diego Place in Soledad. The homicide occurred in the parking lot of the Food Co. Store last Sept. 26 when three people were shot in the upper torso and two died around 8:30 p.m.
When officers arrived, they began CPR on Maria Del Refugio Monroy, 55, who was later pronounced dead. Silverio Perez Selendon, 58, was also given CPR and was transported to a local hospital where he also died. First aid was given to a 19-year-old male victim who was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery. The 19-year-old did have gang ties, but it was unknown what the motive was.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the family was on its way back home in King City from Salinas and had just completed shopping at the grocery store, walked out to their vehicle and were seated inside when the incident occurred. At the time of the incident, witnesses described seeing one suspect, wearing a light-colored, hooded sweatshirt, approach the vehicle on foot, discharge a number of rounds into the vehicle and then flee on foot from the area.
A light-colored four-door Volkswagen Jetta was also seen fleeing. When officers conducted the probation search they located a light gold Jetta that matched the description from the earlier homicide. They contacted suspect Jorge Rodriguez, 19, and conducted a search of his residence before arresting him on suspicion of parole violation.
According to Police Chief Eric Sills, they were just going on a probation search, but when officers arrived they immediately noticed and recognized the vehicle.
“When we got there, the officers immediately recognized the vehicle,” he said. “This is because they were the same officers that worked the night of the homicides.” During follow-up investigation, distinctive markings found on suspect Rodriguez’s Jetta were compared to marks seen on video surveillance of the suspect vehicle used in the double homicide. After close examination, it was determined that the markings on the vehicle seen in the video were identical to those found on suspect Rodriguez’s vehicle. “The damage to the metal on the vehicle is something that can’t be duplicated,” Sills said. “It is like ballistics on a bullet.”
Additional follow-up was conducted, and witnesses from the night of the shooting positively identified suspect Rodriguez in a police lineup as being involved in the double murder.
“The moral of the story here is this is a perfect example of two police departments successfully working together jointly,” Sills said. “All the officers from Soledad and Greenfield that worked the double homicide were also involved in this probation search. We weren’t expecting an arrest for homicide.”
Officers continue to investigate and anyone with information related to this case are asked to contact Detective Jorge Arreola at 831- 223-5166 or call the Soledad Police Department directly at 831-223-5121. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call the WeTIP hotline at 1-800-782-7463.
KSBW: Arrest Made in Soledad Double-Murder Case
San Gabriel Valley Tribune: Soledad Police Make An Arrest in Double Homicide Case