Photo: Scene of crime | Santa Maria PD
On the morning of April 23, 2022, Santa Maria Police Department patrol units responded to a report of a gunshot victim in a vehicle on the city’s West Main Street.
According to SMPD spokesman Sgt. Todd Logan, when the cops rolled up to a scene “on the dirt shoulder near farm fields,” they discovered 61-year-old Luis Bernabe Jiminez seated behind the wheel of his white sedan, completely lifeless.
In the days leading up to Jiminez’s death that same month, SMPD units had responded to “three other shootings” involving three other victims who survived the deadly attacks. Each of the shootings was immediately suspected to have been “connected to gang activity.”
The ensuing investigation into that violent week was conducted over a period of 17 months, leading to the identification of 23-year-old Isacc Anthony Almaguer and 21- year-old Felix Antonio Martinez-Just Jr., both residents of Santa Maria. Also suspected of involvement in the attacks were three women. 25-year-old Nipomo resident Maria Guadalupe Hernandez, 38-year-old Santa Maria resident Monique Alesha Arriola, and 36-year-old Brenda Roberta Aguirre were all implicated as accessories soon after the fatal shooting of Jiminez occurred.
On July 28th of this year, detectives made contact with each of the five suspects; Almaguer was incarcerated at Solano State Prison on other felony charges at the time, and was “returned to Santa Barbara County to face the new charges” of attempted murder. Martinez-Justo was taken into custody without incident and transported to Santa Barbara County Jail, where he was charged with multiple counts of attempted murder.
The three females were each arrested and have been charged with being an accessory to attempted murder and being an accessory to murder, each charge incorporating “sentencing enhancements” pursuant to the determination of the crimes having been committed in furtherance of a criminal gang.