OCEANSIDE, Calif. - Three young men and a juvenile were arrested in connection with a possibly gang-related shooting at an Oceanside park earlier this month that left a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy dead and two other teens wounded, a police lieutenant said Saturday.
Santo Diaz, 18, of Oceanside, Michael Zurita and Martin Melendrez, both 19 and of Vista, were arrested along with a juvenile whose name was not released, according to Oceanside police Lt. Aaron Doyle.
According to online jail records, Diaz and Zurita were booked into the Vista Detention Facility late Friday on suspicion of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and participating in a criminal street gang. Melendrez was jailed early today on suspicion of first-degree murder.
All three adults were scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The arrests stemmed from the gunfire at Libby Lake Park shortly before 9 p.m. on March 13 that resulted in the deaths Edgar Sanchez, 15, and 13-year-old Melanie Virgen. The two teens died at the scene, and two others wounded in the attack were taken to a hospital, police said.
One of the injured teens was released from a hospital and the other remained in stable condition, according to Doyle.
Following the shooting, witnesses told police several men or teenage boys dressed in dark clothing left the scene in a gray or silver Toyota Tacoma or Tundra extended-cab pickup truck, police said.
About 5 a.m. Friday, members of the Oceanside Police Department's Investigations Division served search warrants at five locations in Oceanside and Vista, with help from federal agents and members of various local law enforcement agencies. Doyle said the warrants were served based on multiple corroborating leads that indicated the motive for the deadly shooting was gang-related.
Doyle said because the investigation was ongoing, no specific information would be released about the particular suspected gang involvement, specific locations of the search warrants or other information believed to be critical to the case.
Police are not saying what break they got that led to the arrests, but Oceanside police Lt. Steve Regalado told 10News the slayings are leading to changes at Libby Lake Park.
"The city is taking steps now to try and enhance the safety for all those who go to the park day or night and those steps I know are in the works right now... enhancing the visibility there at the park," he said.
In addition to the arrests of Melendrez, Zurita, Diaz and the unnamed juvenile, law enforcement officials recovered a dark gray 2011 Toyota Tacoma extended-cab pickup truck, registered to one of the suspects, Doyle said.
The attack earlier this month took place near where Sandra Salgado, 14, and her boyfriend, 16-year-old Fernando Solano were gunned down in a gang assault nearly two years ago.