UPDATED THROUGHOUT . . .
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The man shot in the upper torso early Sunday before his car crashed into parked vehicles a couple blocks from Willowick Municipal Golf Course in Santa Ana has been identified. Jose Felix Nieto-Bautista, 22, later died at the hospital. Two have been arrested for his murder.
“We believe this was possibly a robbery,” Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna tells the Orange County Register.
Jimmy Tlamasico and Ranferi Ivan Cruz, who were both identified as 19-year-old Santa Ana gang members, have been charged with murder, street terrorism and robbery.
A handgun Cruz had on him when he was arrested may have been the murder weapon, according to Bertagna.
Nieto-Baustista, a Santa Ana resident, was not a gang member, police say. He was behind the wheel of a car parked in the area of North Bewley Street early Sunday when a group of men police identified as gang members approached his friend sitting in the passenger seat.
As the men started to rob the unidentified friend, Nieto-Baustista got out of the car to help and was immediately shot in the neck. He got back in and drove a short distance before the car hit three or four parked vehicles and then came to a rest in the middle of the 700 block of North Bewley. His friend was not injured.
Police received a call of shots fired in the neighborhood just before 2:30 a.m. They arrived to find the severly wounded Nieto-Baustista in the car. He was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Bertagna tells the Register that Santa Ana gang detectives, working with the U.S. Marshals Pacific
Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force, served several search warrants Monday that led to the arrests of the two murder suspects. He did not indicate if there are other suspects, only that the