Three of the suspects arrested for suspicion of attempted murder and firing on an occupied vehicle driving on South 11th Street Friday, April 17 are (l to r) Ricardo Contreras, Rudy Cardoza and Mitchell Cardoza Jr.

SPPD: Suspects in mistaken identity shooting held on $500,000 bail

April 29, 2015
Santa Paula News

Although Santa Paula Police arrested four gang members and associates last week for an unprovoked mistaken identity shooting at a passing vehicle, more information is being sought from the public that led to the suspects to begin with.

Early Thursday morning warrants were served on two South 11th Street residences as part of the investigation into an incident that occurred the previous Friday on April 17.

That incident involved a man driving a dark pickup truck on South 11th Street about 9:30 p.m. whose vehicle was abruptly fired on. Police believe the man was fired on because his vehicle is similar to one that was involved in a gang shooting that occurred April 1.

The intended victim was able to flee the area and although his pickup was damaged he was not struck.

accordingto SPPD Commander Ish Cordero, “The victim hailed a Santa Paula Police Officer who was on a traffic stop unrelated to the incident and informed him what had occurred.”

Officers were dispatched to South 11th Street where they found evidence of the crime.

“Eyewitnesses,” said Cordero, “contacted police and positively identified the subjects,” that had been involved in the shooting incident that Cordero said was a case of mistaken identity.

Search warrants were obtained for the April 23 Thursday visit by Santa Paula Police Officers, SWAT Team, K9 Units and investigators from the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.

The four suspects — Rudy Cardoza, 40, Ricardo Contreras 35, Mitchell Cardoza Jr., 18, and a 17 year-old male juvenile all from Santa Paula — were arrested without incident and booked for suspicion of attempted murder and shooting at an inhabited vehicle. All are documented gang members or gang associates.

The suspects were transported to Ventura County Jail and bail set at $500,000.

Santa Paula Police noted the investigation is ongoing and anyone with details is encouraged to contact the Santa Paula Police Department at (805) 525-4474.

If you would prefer to remain anonymous, call the SPPD recorded Tip Hotline, 933-5691 or email tips to

Or, call Ventura County Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477); the call is not recorded and the caller may remain anonymous.

Ventura County Crime Stoppers can also be contacted by texting “Busted” plus your message to CRIMES (274637). 

Crime Stopper Tips can also be sent via the website,   

Crime Stoppers offers a reward for certain crimes that lead to an arrest and indictment.

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