Miguel Magana homicide investigation: SPPD still seeking white SUV, leads

January 10, 2007
Santa Paula Police Department

The investigation into the December 1 shooting death of a Santa Paula man and the wounding of his two companions is “still going strong,” according to a Santa Paula Police Department spokesman, who noted that police are relying on the public to help them with the case.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThe investigation into the December 1 shooting death of a Santa Paula man and the wounding of his two companions is “still going strong,” according to a Santa Paula Police Department spokesman, who noted that police are relying on the public to help them with the case.“The investigation is still going strong, we’re following every lead that comes up,” said Det. Sgt. Ishmael Cordero. “We’re still looking for that white Ford Explorer or a vehicle similar to that,” which witnesses said held the shooter or shooters.Miguel Magana, 21 of Santa Paula, was hit several times in the head by gunshots; his passengers, Jose Estrada, 20 and Jose Meza, 20, also city residents, were also struck by gunfire. The shooting occurred at about 11:30 p.m. in the 900 block of East Virginia Terrace.The victims were traveling westbound on East Virginia Terrace when a white vehicle “came alongside and, for no apparent reason,” what is believed to be two occupants “opened fire” on the victims.Magana, who was transported to Ventura County Medical Center, was pronounced dead at about 6 a.m. the following morning. Meza, who was shot in the arm, was treated and later released. Estrada, who also was shot in the head, was critically wounded and is still hospitalized.“One of the surviving victims may be able to possibly identify the suspects when we focus on a certain individual or individuals,” noted Det. Sgt. Cordero.The investigation has been unable to find a motive for the attack on the three men: “What we can determine is that it was more or less a random thing, but we don’t know for sure. We played out any scenario we possibly could” during the intensive investigation, that included interviews with the victims’ families. “There’s no rhythm or reason for this,” other than a random act of fatal violence.
Det. Sgt. Cordero said that SPPD investigators have eliminated several potential suspects. Magana was single but had a girlfriend, and his family members said they were planning on marriage this year. Magana worked for a fencing company and had no criminal record.“If anything, he would report crimes against him,” such as vehicle vandalism. “He was the victim of an assault with a deadly weapon a month prior” to the fatal shooting said Det. Sgt. Cordero. “We talked to that suspect and eliminated him from the homicide.”Investigators are convinced that “somebody out there knows something, and the SPPD would appreciate any information that would lead us to a suspect and why this occurred.” The SPPD is distributing flyers of the vehicle being sought by police.“We have received several calls, people do want to be involved, and we would like more information.... Somebody has to know something about this,” including the passengers in the vehicle holding the suspected shooter/shooters.Random acts such as the one that apparently led to Magana’s death and the wounding of his friends are frustrating to investigators. “We can do all the hard work, we can do everything, but somebody coming forward - either through courage or concern - is the key” to solving many crimes, including the Magana homicide.“We need the community involvement, we can only go so far,” noted Det. Sgt. Cordero. “Many people are under the perception” given by television series that crimes are “easily solved in a lab. But we don’t live in the world of television, this is reality.”The SPPD is urging that anyone with information to contact Det. Sgt. Cordero direct at 933-4236 or the SPPD Watch Commander at 525-4474. Information can also be left on the SPPD recorded Tip Hotline, 933-4253-1-#. Callers can remain anonymous. Or, call the WeTip hotline at (800) 78-Crime (782-7463). All information offered remains anonymous, even if the tipster qualifies for a WeTip reward.



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