Seven people 16 to 51 years old were arrested in the fatal shooting of a teen boy in Visalia’s Ruiz Park, state Attorney General Rob Bonta and Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar announced Wednesday.
Fifteen-year-old Justin Molina was shot once shortly before 8 p.m. on Dec. 13, 2020, and died at a hospital a week later.
Tips from the public helped investigators with the Visalia Police Department, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, and the California Department of Justice identify the suspects, law enforcement officials said.
The persons arrested and their charges:
- Antonio Castaneda – homicide
- Candelaria Ramos – accessory to homicide, felony conspiracy
- Jennifer Ruiz-Castaneda – conspiracy
- Jose Ramos-Castaneda – accessory to homicide, felony conspiracy
- Jose Patricio Ramos Jr. – accessory to homicide, felony conspiracy
- Maria Griselda-Campos – resisting, delaying, obstructing an officer
- Male juvenile- accessory to homicide, felony conspiracy.
Visalia Police Chief: ‘Senseless Act of Violence’
Officers on Tuesday executed six search warrants in making the arrests. The officers also seized several weapons, the police department said in a statement.
“While we cannot erase the pain and trauma experienced by those involved in this case, we hope that these arrests bring some level of closure for the victim’s family and to the Visalia community,” Bonta said in a statement.
Said Salazar: (This) is the culmination of more than two years of dedication and hard work by Visalia Police Detectives who never gave up on solving this case. I am grateful for their tenacity in continuing to develop leads and information and equally grateful for the assistance of the California Department of Justice Special Operations Unit who offered their expertise and resources without hesitation to help solve this senseless act of violence in our community.”
Officials didn’t announce a motive for the shooting.
The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office is in charge of the prosecution.