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January 26, 2022

Violent crime spree leaves 1 dead in South Monterey County

Shooting, carjacking and homicide reported last Friday

UPDATE (Dec. 6, 5:22 p.m.):

On Monday, Dec. 6, Greenfield detectives developed information that identified Juan Arreola, 31, of Greenfield, as the suspect of the shooting that took place Friday on Elm Avenue. Arreola was located and taken into custody later that morning.

During a search of his vehicle, police found an AK-47 rifle, four high-capacity magazines and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

At about 2:40 p.m., officers served a search warrant on Arreola’s residence in the 800 block of Elm Avenue. Due to the proximity of his residence to Greenfield High School and Vista Verde Middle School, the schools were placed on a lockdown.

At the residence, police found a loaded 9mm Taurus firearm in a kitchen cabinet and an additional 9mm loaded gun magazine inside a cereal box.

Arreola was booked into jail for attempted murder and multiple firearm charges. 


ORIGINAL STORY:

SALINAS VALLEY — A series of violent crimes occurred last Friday in South Monterey County, during which Soledad, Greenfield and King City police departments all responded and provided assistance.

At about 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 3, Greenfield officers responded to the 600 block of Elm Avenue for a car-to-car shooting. No injuries were reported, and the shooting scene was “forensically processed,” police said. 

Two hours later, at about 6:30 p.m., Soledad officers responded to a report of multiple gunshots in the 100 block of Inca Drive and located two male juveniles on the sidewalk. 

One of the juveniles was found unresponsive after being shot several times and died from his injuries. The other juvenile was unharmed.

“The homicide investigation showed it may be gang related,” according to Greenfield Police, which assisted Soledad with the incident, in a news release.

Later that night, at about 8:10 p.m., Greenfield officers responded to a carjacking in the 100 block of Sixth Street. Police said the victim was approached by a group of males who forced her and the passenger out of the vehicle at knife-point. The suspects then fled the area in the victim’s vehicle. 

“Officers canvassed the city for the carjacked vehicle, while simultaneously alerting our neighboring agencies of the carjacking and a description of the vehicle,” police said.

At about 10:35 p.m., King City officers located the carjacked vehicle in the city and attempted to stop it, during which a pursuit began. Shortly after, the pursuit ended when the vehicle crashed into a parked truck in the 400 block of S. Third Street.

The suspects fled from the vehicle and jumped fences into the backyards of homes.

Officers and detectives from Greenfield and Soledad police departments, California Highway Patrol and Monterey County Sheriff’s Office arrived to provide assistance.

Greenfield officers helped established a perimeter and took three suspects into custody. The fourth suspect was not immediately located.

Early the next morning, at about 1:20 a.m. on Dec. 4, King City officers responded to a report of a shooting victim. Police said the preliminary investigation showed the victim “may be a person of interest in the Greenfield carjacking and the fourth outstanding suspect.”

After the vehicle pursuit, local officers canvassed several backyards and located a .38 special revolver and a 9mm semi-automatic handgun that were discarded by the suspects as they fled from police. 

Greenfield officers arrested Jose Zapien, 21, of Soledad, and two 15-year-old juveniles, one from Greenfield and the other from Gonzales. All three were booked into jail for various violations, which included carjacking, evading officers, child endangerment and possession of firearms. 

The fourth person of interest, whose name is being withheld pending arrest, is currently being treated at a local hospital, police said.

“These investigations are still ongoing,” police said. “If you see or hear anything that may keep our community safe, we ask you to please contact detectives.”

Anyone with additional information about these incidents can contact: Greenfield Police Department’s Sgt. Mattke at 831-233-1302 or Detective Diaz at 831-324-5253; Soledad Police Department’s Detective Santiago at 831-220-2899 or Detective Solis at 831-223-2176; or King City Police Department’s Sgt. Dow at 831-718-7177 or Detective Rodriguez 831-315-9669.

Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.

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