H-LOMPOC

Jul 11, 2011 9:48 PM by Ariel Wesler

Police: Love triangle motive behind fatal stabbing

A 20-year-old Lompoc man is in jail tonight, accused of stabbing and killing a man over the weekend and we're learning more about a possible motive.

It happened around 11:00 last night in an alleyway off the 200 block of North N street. Officers found the man lying near a dumpster. He had been stabbed in the chest. His suspected killer was arrested this morning in the 400 block of North K street.

Benjamin Ramirez crouches to light memorial candles, just inches away from where Lompoc police say his 19-year-old son Victor was murdered in the alley. Benjamin doesn't speak much English, so we asked someone to help translate.

"What's hurting him a lot is that he's never going to see his son again. He'll never get him back," Benjamin said.

Police say the incident was not gang related, just a fight in an alley between Ramirez and 20-year-old Bryan Herrera...a crime of passion.

"There's a woman in common between these two men," said Lompoc Police Chief Tim Dabney.

Herrera was arrested in the apartment building behind me where he lived with his girlfriend. Although police say his crime was motivated by a love triangle, neighbors are still uneasy.

With school out for the summer, it's common to find kids strolling the streets.

"If violence is going to happen like this, I don't want my nephew to witness it," said Veronica Escalante.

As family and friends gathered in the alley, they comforted each other, coping with the devastating effects of violence.

"He's really hurt because that's what he loved in his life and what he lived for was for his son," Benjamin said.

Lompoc police say they have dealt with both these men before, but would not comment on any of specifics of their criminal history.

Police say the case will most likely head to the District Attorney's office tomorrow where prosecutors will decide on Herrera's charges.

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