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19-year-old killed in shooting outside Orcutt market

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Posted at 9:48 AM, Mar 26, 2023

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies responded to a deadly shooting Saturday night in Orcutt.

It happened at about 8 p.m. outside of Melody Market located at 130 E. Foster Road.

When deputies arrived, they say they found 19-year-old old Manuel Reyes Rios of Santa Maria dead at the scene.

Deputies say the shooting involved an off-duty Santa Maria Police Department officer who was on-scene during the incident.

Deputies are continuing their investigation and say there are no outstanding suspects at this time.

The identity of the officer involved will be released at a later date.

The chain of events unfolded next to a residential neighborhood where Libby Walling and her husband heard the shooting in real-time.

"We heard a couple of shots and then we listened for a second and then we heard more, like 10, go boom, boom, boom," Walling recalled.

She and her husband were watching a movie at home when the shots rang out, prompting her husband to run next door to investigate the sound.

"He just peaked around the corner. He saw a body there with a gun near the body and there was a police officer that was there that yelled at him and said to get back inside," Walling said.

On the other side of the market sits the Thai Hut. Employees walked us through the moment they heard a gunshot rip through the walls of the restaurant. They say a bullet nearly injured their customer.

"We heard like 10 shots I believe and somehow the bullet went through the wall and it grazed another wall. It grazed the customer's arm and they freaked out and ran behind the kitchen," explained Sandra Vongsaroj, a Thai Hut employee.

 Stray bullets also ricocheted across the street leaving carved-out concrete in front of Chef Rick's restaurant.

The sheriff's office is asking anyone with information to assist investigators and contact the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division by calling (805) 681-4150. Anonymous tips can be made by calling (805) 681-4171 or visiting the sheriff's website.