A 27-year-old woman mourning at the site where a young man was found shot to death Wednesday night was killed after being run over Thursday night in what police believe is the second homicide in two nights at the same Santa Ana location.
The deceased was identified as Trisha Irene Verdugo, who like the late 23-year-old Joseph Frank Garcia resided in Orange.
“The motive for this crime is unknown but preliminary investigation suggests the case is gang related,” reads a Santa Ana Police Department advisory on the second slaying.
As the Weekly previously reported, Garcia was found suffering from a gunshot wound or wounds in the alleyway behind Food for Less near First Street and Grand Avenue. Orange County Fire Authority paramedics, who could not revive him, pronounced him dead at the scene at 10:37 p.m. Wednesday.
That was nearly 24 hours to the minute before Santa Ana Police received a 10:41 p.m. call about a vehicle versus pedestrian traffic collision in the parking lot behind the Dollar Tree store at 1900 N. Grand Ave., which is in the same center as the Food for Less market.
Like Garcia, Verdugo died at the scene from the injuries sustained.
The preliminary investigation reveals Verdugo was paying respects to Garcia when she “became involved in a confrontation with a motorist in the parking lot,” police say. “The suspect struck the female with his vehicle as he left the parking lot.” [Writer’s note: It was later revealed Verdugo and Garcia were cousins.]
The car has been tentatively described as a dark sedan, but there is no further description of the driver. Anyone with information that can help homicide detectives with what are now two presumed murders is asked to call the SAPD Homicide Unit at 714.245.8390.