The Santa Barbara Police Dept. has released the names of six individuals arrested in connection to a fatal stabbing downtown Saturday night.
Baldemar Leal, age 22, was discovered lying on the ground at approximately 6:52 a.m. Sunday morning on the 400 block of De la Vina Street. Police and medical personnel responded and pronounced Leal dead on the scene from multiple stab wounds to the torso. While the stabbing was originally said to not be gang-related, police now say that all six suspects are involved or associated with a local street gang, and that some of them appeared to have known the victim and had conspired to assault him.
According to police, there is no indication that Leal, himself, was involved in gang activity.
Following the discovery of the body, investigators working for the SB Police Dept. followed several leads, ultimately issuing a handful of search and arrest warrants in the Santa Barbara area. As a result of the investigation, the following individuals were arrested for murder and conspiracy to commit murder: Jonathon Alonzo, age 20; Lilliana Arryaga, age 18; Andrew Balderaz, age 35; Michele Murillo Flores, age 30; Imelda Nava Guevara, age 30; and David Anthony Martinez, age 21.
Despite the six arrests, a witness has said they saw four subjects assaulting an individual at approximately 9:30 p.m. Saturday on the 400 block of De la Vina Street, where Leal’s body was found. According to the witness, following the assault, several subjects ran south on De la Vina Street and entered a vehicle. Leal was last seen running north on De la Vina Street.
All the arrested individuals are Santa Barbara residents. Thus far, none have been booked for participation in a criminal street gang, though detectives have asked the District Attorney’s Office to review the investigation and consider filing criminal street gang enhancement charges.
Investigators have determined that Leal had only lived on the 400 block of De la Vina Street for two days. He had resided in the Santa Barbara area for nine years.