One man is dead and a juvenile suspect has been arrested following a string of crimes that crossed county lines and jurisdictions in Southern and Central California.
The multi-county crime spree ended on Wednesday night, after two wanted suspects from Santa Barbara County were stopped following a high-speed pursuit that led through San Luis Obispo County into Kern County.
Crimes in Santa Barbara and Orange Counties
Two suspects, a 20-year-old man and a male juvenile, were suspected of homicide in Lompoc in the shooting death of a 33-year-old man that took place on the night of June 5.
Authorities believed the two suspects headed south. On June 7, the two are suspected of a carjacking at gunpoint in Anaheim, along South Lewis St. at about 2:30 p.m. The vehicle was described as a blue BMW i8.
On June 8, the suspects were apparently back in Santa Barbara County. Authorities say they believe the suspects were responsible a robbery at a liquor store in Buellton.
The robbery took place after 3 p.m. on Avenue of Flags, when an armed man made off with cash, a liquor store employee told KSBY.
Authorities searched for the suspect behind the robbery, by ground and from the air, but lost track of him. During the investigation, deputies learned that the robbery suspect could be linked to the June 5 homicide and the June 7 carjacking.
At about 4 p.m., the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office sent a “be on the lookout” notice to neighboring law enforcement agencies, which included a description of two suspects and their vehicle.
Suspects spotted in San Luis Obispo County
Within the hour, at about 4:40 p.m., deputies from the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office spotted the suspects' vehicle in Paso Robles, near Hwy 46 and Golden Hill Rd.
They lost sight of the vehicle, but more deputies were dispatched. A CHP helicopter began a search from the air.
At 5:30 p.m., the vehicle was spotted heading east along Hwy 46 near Mill Rd.
Deputies attempted to stop the vehicle, which kicked off a high-speed chase along the highway.
The chase crossed into Kern County.
One man dead, one juvenile arrested
After traveling east approximately 35 miles, the suspects pulled off the highway just south of Kecks Rd. in Kern County. Officials say two individuals ran from the vehicle into a nearby orchard.
Though the CHP helicopter saw the suspects flee the vehicle, officials say the tree coverage hid them from sight.
Kern County Sheriff’s Office joined the search, responding with a SWAT team, K9 Unit and Air Unit.
Authorities had surrounded the orchard when they found out from a neighbor that an ATV had been stolen from his property.
Another witness told authorities that two males were seen running north from the direction of Hwy 46 and had potentially abandoned an ATV behind them.
Authorities spotted the men, and the CHP helicopter headed towards their location.
Officials set up another perimeter and began to close in on the two suspects.
One suspect, identified as a juvenile male, was arrested by officials who were on foot. The officials approached the second suspect and discovered he had died from a gunshot wound.
The Kern County Sheriff’s Office says a handgun was found near the suspect’s body.
Lompoc Police told KSBY they are investigating whether the suspect, identified as a 20-year-old man, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Neither suspect’s name has been released.
The juvenile suspect was booked into Juvenile Hall on an outstanding warrant.
The incident is still under investigation.
The Kern County Sheriff’s Office, Lompoc Police Department, Anaheim Police Department, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Barbara Juvenile Probation, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol were all involved in the case.
Grace Norris, Crime Prevention Specialist with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office, reflected on what it was like working with numerous California agencies in their pursuit of the two individuals.
"There's definitely some challenges when it comes to crossing county lines and working with different jurisdictions, different law enforcement entities," Norris said. "We were able to come together and work together well, establish communications and assist each other as best as possible to ensure the best outcome possible in a situation like this."