NewsLocal News


UPDATE: Fifth victim found dead, police identify two victims in Santa Maria incident

Posted at 2:22 PM, Jun 22, 2019

UPDATE (2:17 p.m.): The Santa Maria Police Department confirms a fifth person was found dead in a home that was involved in a deadly shooting and explosion in Santa Maria Friday.

Police say two people were shot and three people were found dead in the burned down home. They believe one of the people found dead in the home is the shooter.

Police also confirmed the unidentified shooter shot and killed 70-year-old Kurt Bracke and 78-year-old Richard Hanen.

The identification of the shooter and the two additional victims will be released once the Coroner’s Office confirms their identities.

The scene of a fiery home explosion in Santa Maria, where two bodies were recovered Friday, remained active Saturday as a steady stream of neighbors stopped by to see for themselves the site where a deadly rampage ended.

Two men were fatally shot at the Casa Grande Senior Mobile Estates clubhouse Friday before the home at 407 Taylor was set ablaze, leading to an explosion that sent shrapnel and glass flying into the street.

Santa Maria Police Lt. Russ Mengel said the first officer on scene responded within 30 seconds of the call of shots fired at the clubhouse.

“After reviewing body-cam video today, it’s clear our officer acted with courage,” Mengel said.

That officer responded before the house fire broke out as the shooting suspect fled the clubhouse, Mengel said.

“(The Officer) made the decision not to wait for backup because he believed he may be able to influence the outcome of this situation,” Mengel said.

The shooter is believed to have died in the fire, Mengel said, but the two bodies recovered from the scorched home are so burned, it will take DNA testing to positively identify the remains.

“We have to consider this a homicide investigation for now until we positively identify them,” Mengel said.

Three homes, including the house that first caught fire, were destroyed and Mengel said a fourth home was seriously damaged.

The 406 Taylor address next door was vacant at the time of the incident, but neighbors said it had just sold to a new owner.

Residents who knew the man who lived at 407 Taylor described him as anti-social and angry.

A woman who stopped at the scene said she delivered meals to the man through her work with the Food Bank.

“He was always angry, he had issues and didn’t know how to handle them,” Kalani Young said.

Young said the man was “troubled” and “needed help.”

According to Mengel, many neighbors agree with Young’s assessment.

“We’ve been talking to everybody that had encountered him in the park and we’re getting a story that there was some difficulty in the relationship with the individual,” Mengel said. “So that may hold some answers as to why the events occurred yesterday.”