Murder suspects plead not guilty in fatal park shooting

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VISTA, Calif. — Four suspects in the fatal shootings at Oceanside’s Libby Lake Park entered not guilty pleas to all allegations Wednesday afternoon.

Martin Melendrez, Michael Zurita and Santo DiazMartin Melendrez, 21, Michael Zurita, 19, Santo Diaz, 19, and Kevin Brizuela, 17, appeared before Judge Kimberlee Lagotta for arraignment. Though Brizuela is a juvenile, he is being charged as an adult.

Melanie Virgen, 13, and Edgar Sanchez, 15 were killed in the shooting. Two other teens were injured, but are expected to survive.

The suspects face two counts each of murder and two counts each of attempted murder.Kevin Brizuela

Deputy District Attorney Christine Bannon requested they be held without bail. Judge Lagotta agreed to the request.

“Given the extreme danger to the community of each and every one of these defendants and the extreme risk of flight to the community robbing them of justice,” said Bannon.

Investigators have tied the crimes to a gang related shooting and said each of the victims was shot multiple times. They do not believe the victims had any involvement with a gang.

Arrests Made In Connection With The Libby Park Shootings

Melanie Virgen and Edgar Sanchez

“I can’t imagine what it’s like for the families,” said Bannon. “It has to be something that’s indescribable in terms of the level of pain that the families have to go through. A fear that persists. Gangs are a plague in the community. When they commit a violent act against an individual unprovoked in the community, it terrifies everyone else.”

If convicted, Brizuela faces life in prison because he was under 18 when the crime was committed. The other three suspects could face the death penalty. That decision would be up to the district attorney.


  • TaxMan

    Hey gang members, you actually think you have YOUR OWN turf? Pfft! LOL! Gang members have nothing and are a joke.

    I can't believe gangTards think they run things, what a bunch of wussies!!

  • <**>

    this is such a sad thing and im glad these ppl are off the streets, my heart goes out to the families that lost there loved ones!

    • Maylee

      In life we make mistakes some we can never take back…learn from other peoples mistake dont commit those mistakes..warn our youth about the dangers and consequences of making wrong decisions..instead of blaming there race or parents use this as an example to guide the young through the correct path..remember that the truth will always prevail sooner or later we will know..may god be with the victims family and those who are accused..

  • guest

    I guess if there is a positive side to this story it is that we got FOUR pieces of trash out of our community for at least life and better yet, we'll get the peace of mind knowing several of them were given lethal injection.

    Man I wish the hispanic community as a whole would embrace the death penalty….then they could start off'ing all the worthless scum in their own country before they ever make it to the states.

    • Cachido

      You ignorants act as if Hispanics/Mexicans are the only offenders. Are u guys stupid? Look at all the white scumbags that commit crimes day in and day out.

  • LALA

    there wouldn't be any gang members if people knew how to raise their children and stopped being assholes to others and judging everyone .. we created the world we live in so there's no one else to blame but ourselves. sitting on your ass and complaining about what other people do will not help or improve the crime rate, if you really cared or wanted to make a difference you would stop staring at your computer and do something.

  • dont trip

    fuck all u guyz they didnt kill anyone there my friend and they would do such a thing so a big fuck u to the one that are talking shit freee kevein and santos fts

  • dnt trip

    Lame ass fools “big bad” P.C’s now! Pesetas the solid camaradas up-state r waiting for those culos. R.i.p to those innocent souls they didnt deserve that shit

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