Remember the Feb. 8 murder in the alley behind the Food for Less at First Street and North Grand Avenue in Santa Ana, where the victim’s cousin was run over and killed the next night while paying respects at the scene of the initial slaying?
That Santa Ana Police Department announced this morning that 23-year-old Joshua Encinas has been arrested for the first murder.
Officers went to an alley in the 1900 block of North Grand around 10:30 p.m. Feb. 8 due to a call about a man down. They found Joseph Frank Garcia face down in the alley and suffering from gunshot wounds. Orange County Fire Authority medics responded to the scene and pronounced the 23-year-old Orange resident dead at 10:37 p.m.
On Thursday, Santa Ana homicide detectives and Riverside Police Department officers served a search warrant at Encinas’ residence, 3085 Molly St., Riverside, and arrested him, the Orange County cop agency revealed today, without noting what made them suspect the arrestee.
There is no known motive for the crime, but police say Encinas and Garcia were gang members. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Santa Ana Police Department Homicide Unit at 714.245.8390.
Trisha Irene Verdugo, 27, of Orange, was with other family and friends of Garcia at a makeshift memorial set up at the murder scene the night of Feb. 9 when she was run over by a Chrysler 300 and died at the scene. The alleged driver, Sonny Steven Zieres, 26, of Orange, faces a felony murder count, sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon and a prior serious and violent felony conviction for assault with a deadly weapon in 2009 in Orange County. Alleged passenger Claudia Alicia Trejo, 29, of Orange, faces a felony accessory after the fact count.