Israel Corpus, Elvira Ventura and Jonathan Hernandez: OC’s Latest Homicide Victims

UPDATE NO. 2, JULY 21, 2:49 P.M.: Tustin Police Department today announced the arrest of 17-year-old Gabriel Marcos Guerrero for the murder of Israel Corpus.

Guerrero was taken into custody Thursday in Riverside, transported to Tustin PD and then booked into Orange County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of murder, says Tustin Police Lt. Robert Wright, who adds no additional suspects are being sought “and there is no danger or concern to the community.”

UPDATE NO. 1, JULY 13, 1:12 P.M.: Tustin Police Department detectives say they have a suspect in the fatal shooting of Israel Corpus: 17-year-old Gabriel Marcos Guerrero. His last known residence was in Los Angeles, but he is known to frequent Orange County, according to Tustin Police Lt. Robert Wright, whose agency considers the wanted suspect armed and dangerous. Guerrero is described as Latino, 6 feet tall, 180 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information regarding Guerrero or his location is asked to contact Tustin PD at 714.573.3220 or call 9-1-1.

ORIGINAL POST, JULY 13, 5:46 A.M.: Leave town for 10 days and come back to find multiple Orange Countians have been murdered.

The most recent victim was Israel Corpus, who was shot the death Sunday afternoon in Tustin. That city’s police department was called just before 4 p.m. about a shooting outside an apartment complex in the 1600 block of Mitchell Avenue. Officers arrived to find 23-year-old Corpus suffering from a single gunshot wound. Within less than half an hour, the Tustin resident was pronounced dead at Orange County Global Medical Center in Santa Ana. A GoFundMe page has been set up to defray his family’s funeral expenses.

Tustin Police Lt. Robert Wright said initially that Hispanic men in their 20s and possibly gang members were being sought for the shooting. (He directed anyone with information to contact police Detective Girgenti at 714.573.3220.) The homicide investigation reportedly sent cops to an apartment complex in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles Tuesday night. Tustin officers, assisted by colleagues from Irvine and a SWAT team, are claimed to have tried to serve a search warrant at the Parkwood Apartments near Los Feliz Boulevard around 8:30 p.m., but no suspect was arrested.

The second Orange County homicide victim was also killed in Tustin. Just before 9:30 a.m. last Thursday, July 6, police were called to an apartment in the 15700 block of Tustin Village Way, where a man reported he had injured a woman. Officers arrived to detain Erik Merida-Diaz without incident. He was later treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening cuts on his arms. Inside a bedroom in the apartment, police found the body of Merida-Diaz’s wife, 35-year-old Elvira Ventura. “Initial investigation indicates the victim died from strangulation,” said Lt. Wright. “An autopsy examination will be conducted by the coroner’s office.” Merida-Diaz was headed for a jail cell after his release from the hospital and booking for murder, Wright added. The couple had been living together in the unit. Anyone with information that can help investigators is asked to call Detective Rojas at 714.573.3253.

Jonathan Hernandez, 22, of Anaheim, was gunned down in that city early on July 5. Reports of shots fired and a man down sent Anaheim cops to Balsam Avenue and Curtis Court just before 2:45 a.m. Hernandez was found there suffering from gunshot wounds and taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he was pronounced dead, according to the county coroner, at 3:15 a.m. No eyewitnesses had been discovered at last word, so anyone with information is directed to contact Orange County Crime Stoppers, even anonymously at 855-TIP-OCCS or via

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