SANTA ANA – Detectives arrested two Santa Ana gang members early Wednesday morning on suspicion of killing a gang rival during a retaliation shooting, authorities said.
Rene Mojarra, 19, and a 16-year-old boy are accused of being involved in the shooting death of Mario Carlos Hernandez, said Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.
The shooting happened about 6:30 p.m. on Monday in a parking lot of an apartment complex at the corner of North Spurgeon and East 15th streets.
Officers responded and found Hernandez suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The 20-year-old was taken to a hospital, where he died a short time later, Bertagna said.
Detectives on Monday night sifted through multiple witness accounts and received tips from the community that led them to the suspects, Bertagna said.
“During the interview, there were incriminating statements made by the suspects,” Bertagna said, adding that the investigation revealed Mojarra was the shooter and the boy was the getaway driver.
Mojarra, and the boy, whose name is being withheld because he is a minor, were arrested and booked on suspicion of murder and gang enhancements.
The getaway vehicle, a minivan registered to the boy’s mother, was recovered. The weapon used in the killing is still outstanding, Bertagna said.
“The motive was gang retaliation for other incidents that have occurred recently,” Bertagna said.
Hernandez’s death marks the first gang-related homicide of the year in the city. 2011 brought a 45 percent decrease in gang homicides, the most significant reduction in the city since a murder spike in 2006 led the department to increase its gang unit.
Anyone with additional information about the shooting was urged to call the Santa Ana police gang unit at 714-245-8648.