SACRAMENTO, California — Two men are facing murder charges after they allegedly shot and killed a man they mistakenly thought was a rival gang member.
The Sacramento County Sheriff's Office arrested the men Friday, and they appeared in court Monday.
Detectives credited hard work and a collaboration with the community and agencies such as Sacramento Police Department and the sheriff's office gang unit for bringing some closure to the families of all victims involved.
The shooting happened earlier this month in South Sacramento. Two people were hurt and one person, identified as 21-year-old Isaiah Valencia-Vasquez, died.
"The sheriff's office arrested two individuals. The first was Fernando Zambrano and the second was Luis Camarillo. We have identified them as two individuals associated to a gang within Sacramento County," Garth Keffer, homicide detective with the sheriff's office. "That's why we're ultimately able to identify them so quickly with the assistance of our gang detectives."
Detectives said all three shooting victims were innocent bystanders and possibly misidentified.
"We believe our suspects believed that they were with somebody that they were looking to cause harm to and possibly, ultimately, kill based on what happened on Sept. 8," said Lizardo Guzman, detective.
Authorities found the suspects a week later and arrested them in East Sacramento.
It began after they identified the suspect's car in about 48 hours, which helped the case come together. Deputies took different sources and methods, including interviews of witnesses and a surviving victim. The Department of Traffic also assisted with video.
"If it weren't for those citizens that were willing to come forward and provide video footage of the incident, as well as the moments immediately after the incident, we wouldn't be where we are today," said Keffer.
The sheriff's office doesn’t take these investigations lightly, knowing a family has lost a loved one.
"I want to say that the Sacramento sheriff's office takes every crime, especially homicide seriously, especially gang involvement in these violent crimes. And we put a lot of effort into these investigations," said Neay Chhlen, another detective.
They said a lot of gang-related crime goes unreported, but in instances like this, when the community cooperates, it makes the job of the detectives a lot easier.
Guzman said one of the most rewarding parts of the job is bringing the family closure.
"It'll never bring their loved ones back or be able to have their loved ones recover fully and be the same they were... But they were all three grateful and appreciative of our hard work," said Guzman.
Both men are being held in custody without bail. They were arraigned and are facing murder charges, but detectives say other charges will follow.
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