April 29, 2022 – Santa Barbara County, Ca. – As if driving a car on public roads and highways isn’t inherently dangerous enough, there are apparently unthinkable hazards on city streets that have nothing to do with motor vehicle safety.
Evidence of that came on the afternoon of April 25th, when, according to Santa Maria Police Department spokesman Lt. Russ Mengel, uniformed patrol units were alerted by a report that “someone in a vehicle had fired at and hit another vehicle” at one of the city’s suburban intersections. The reporting victim indicated to the cops who arrived at the scene that when he and his son were stopped at the intersection “a car pulled alongside his and an occupant of the other vehicle started shooting at him.”
After the gunfire, the suspect vehicle sped off and violently crashed to a halt “about two blocks away.” Police immediately located the vehicle, made contact and took into custody two unnamed female occupants who were summarily transported to Santa Barbara County Northern Branch Jail for booking on various misdemeanor charges.
Missing from the scene, however, was their male companion, the suspected gunman. With Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Air Unit called into action, officers immediately “canvassed the area,” but to no avail. It was with the help of local area residents reporting “a suspicious individual in their backyards,” however, that police swarmed the neighborhood and ultimately took 23-year-old Santa Maria resident Junior Freddy Martinez into custody “without incident” while in possession of the firearm suspected to have been used in the incident.
Martinez was transported to Santa Barbara County Northern Branch Jail, where he was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, multiple weapons violations, and violation of probation terms, with his bail set at $1,000,000.
– by Robert L. McCullough
Photo: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking