Press Releases

Attempted Murder (Shooting)

Release Date/Time: 8/18/2017 11:00 AM
Incident: Attempted Murder (Shooting)
Date: Friday, 8/18/2017
Time: 1:00 AM
Location: 300 Block of Williams Rd.

Release Authorized by: Danny Warner, Sergeant
Telephone: 831-758-7250

Just after 1 a.m., a 33-year-old male was shot multiple times, while on the 300 block of Williams Rd. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment. This incident is being investigated as gang related.

Summer Campaign/Labor Day DUI Enforcement

Release Date/Time: 8/17/2017 11:30 AM
Incident: Summer Campaign/Labor Day DUI Enforcement
Date: Thursday, 8/17/2017
Time: 11:30 AM
Location: Salinas, CA

Release Authorized by: Gerard D Ross, Sergeant
Telephone: 831-758-7975

This Labor Day, the Salinas Police Department

Reminds Citizens to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

In Effort to End Impaired Driving

The end of summer is traditionally marked by the Labor Day holiday, a time for our country to reflect on the hard work of our fellow Americans. The long weekend is celebrated with picnics, pool parties, and barbecues, as families and friends enjoy the last few days of summer before fall and winter approach. Sadly, the Labor Day holiday is also one of the deadliest, with alcohol and drug impaired drivers endangering themselves and others on America's roadways.

This year, the Salinas PD is partnering with police, sheriffs, and the CHP across the state to stop impaired drivers and help save lives. The high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from August 18 through September 4, 2017.

The DUI Enforcement Team will be deploying this weekend to stop and arrest alcohol and drug-impaired drivers. DUI Saturation Patrols will deploy on various nights throughout the 18-day period and Salinas PD will be conducting a DUI/Driver's License Checkpoint at a yet undisclosed place and time in an area with high frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests. These extra officers on the road, along with routine patrols, are aimed to drastically reduce impaired driving on our community's roadways.

Statistics nationwide show a dangerous trend in impaired driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,265 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2015, a three percent rise in deaths over 2014. That's roughly one person killed every 51 minutes in 2015. That's the equivalent of 20 jumbo jets crashing each year, with no survivors. This is why Salinas PD is working to remind drivers that impaired driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death.

Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment. When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving, which now accounts for a growing number of impaired driving crashes.

In recent years, California has seen an increase in drug-impaired driving crashes. Salinas PD supports the new effort from the Office of Traffic Safety that aims to educate all drivers that 'DUI Doesn't Just Mean Booze.” If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving or operating machinery warning on the label, you might be impaired enough to get a DUI. Marijuana use can also be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs, and can result in a DUI.

Plan your sober ride home before the party begins as the end of summer activities wrap up. It is never okay to drive impaired. Even if you've had one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get home safely.

Drivers are encouraged to download the Designated Driver VIP, or 'DDVIP,” free mobile app for Android or iPhone. The DDVIP app helps find nearby bars and restaurants that feature free incentives for the designated sober driver, from free non-alcoholic drinks to free appetizers and more.

Have family or a friend who is about to drive buzzed or impaired? Take the keys away and arrange to get your friend home safely. The cost of a ride home is cheap. Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, license suspensions, and other expenses that can exceed $10,000.

Funding for this DUI operation is provided to the Salinas Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reminding everyone to ‘Report Drunk Driver – Call 9-1-1'.

Arrest for Manslaughter and Hit & Run with Death

Release Date/Time: 8/15/2017 3:30 PM
Incident: Arrest for Manslaughter and Hit & Run with Death
Date: Tuesday, 8/15/2017
Time: 11:00 AM
Location: 1000 block Industrial Street

Release Authorized by: Gerard D Ross, Sergeant
Telephone: 831-758-7975

On May 29, 2017, at about 8:45 PM, Michele Lightcap, age 44, was walking on the south sidewalk of W. Blanco Road. As she crossed the street northbound, she was struck by a red 2003 Chevy Silverado pickup. The suspect fled the scene. Lightcap was taken by ambulance to Natividad Medical Center where she was pronounced deceased. A couple of hours later, the suspect vehicle was reported stolen.

Shortly after 3 AM, a California Highway Patrol officer spotted a vehicle that matched the description near U.S. 101 and Madeira Avenue. From evidence left at the scene, officers were able to confirm that this was the pickup used in the hit and run and that it was the pickup that was reported stolen.

During an extensive 2½ month investigation, Salinas detectives were able to garner enough evidence to show that Julia Ryan, 25, had been driving the truck at the time of the collision. On today's date, Ryan was arrested for the crime. At the time of her arrest, she was found to be in possession of heroin, methamphetamines, and drug paraphernalia. Ryan was also found to have several outstanding arrest warrants including a warrant for failing to appear on an arrest for driving under the influence of drugs. Ryan is an acquaintance of the owner of the truck.

Ryan was booked into Monterey County Jail for Vehicular Manslaughter, Vehicular Manslaughter and fleeing the scene, Hit and Run causing Death, Failure to Report Hit and Run with Death, Driving on a Suspended License, Possession of Heroin, Possession of Methamphetamines, Possession of Paraphernalia, and multiple outstanding arrest warrants.

Attempted Murder - Shooting

Release Date/Time: 8/15/2017 3:15 PM
Incident: Attempted Murder - Shooting
Date: Sunday, 8/13/2017
Time: 1:09 AM
Location: 1000 block of Rider Ave.

Release Authorized by: Chris Lane, Investigations Sergeant
Telephone: 831-758-7496

In the early morning hours of Sunday, August 13, 2017, officers responded to a ShotSpotter activation in the 1000 block of Rider Ave. At 1:09 am, ShotSpotter alerted to multiple shots occurring, when officers arrived they found evidence of a shooting but no victims. No calls were received that a shooting occurred. Very shortly after that, a Salinas Police officer at Natividad Medical Center on an unrelated call was advised of two victims with gunshot wounds that had arrived at the emergency room.

Two males, a 20-year-old and a 22-year-old, arrived at the hospital, each suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The 20-year-old stated he had arrived in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 1000 block of Rider Ave. to drop off his cousin. As they sat in the car, a person came up and started shooting at them. The 20-year-old immediately started driving away realizing he and his cousin had been shot. He drove directly to Natividad Medical Center for treatment. He could provide no further information regarding the shooting.

The 20-year-old is listed in serious condition and the 22-year-old is in critical condition with serious, life-threatening wounds.

This shooting is being investigated as gang related. Anyone with information related to the crime or who may have been a witness is encouraged to contact the Salinas Police Department Investigations Bureau at (831) 758-7226. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at 831-775-4222, or the We-Tip Line at 1-800-78-CRIME.

VSU, Parole, SWAT, MCSO Search/Attempted Homicide Arrest

Release Date/Time: 8/11/2017 3:32 PM
Incident: VSU, Parole, SWAT, MCSO Search/Attempted Homicide Arrest
Date: Friday, 8/11/2017
Time: 7:00 AM
Location:  200 block of Paloma Ave in Salinas and 300 block of Palm Ave in Greenfield

Release Authorized by: Commander John Murray
Telephone: 831-758-7250

On 08-11-17, at approximately 7:00 AM, officers of the Violence Suppression Unit, Parole, SWAT, and MCSO served a two-location search warrant authored by VSU. The warrant stemmed from an attempted murder (shooting) that occurred in the area of Front Street and Alisal Street on 7-27-17. SPD SWAT served the first location on the 200 block of Paloma Ave in the City of Salinas, and MCSO SWAT served the second simultaneously on the 300 block of Palm Avenue in the City of Greenfield.

In the course of their investigation, VSU officers identified Marcial Allen Elizalde (29), as the shooter in the 7-27-17 incident.

Early this morning VSU conducted a traffic stop and arrested Marcial Allen Elizalde without incident.

Following Elizalde's arrest, SPD SWAT served the search warrant on Paloma Avenue and MCSO served the warrant in Greenfield. As SPD SWAT served the warrant in Salinas Isaac Gabriel Jimenez (20), ran from the Paloma Avenue residence into the backyard with two guns in hand. SWAT officers confronted Jimenez at gunpoint, de-escalated the situation, and placed Jimenez under arrest. Officers later located a shotgun in the home.

MCSO SWAT simultaneously served the search warrant in Greenfield. A search of Marcial Elizalde's bedroom revealed a Canik 9mm handgun, clothing worn during the evening of the attempted murder, and ammunition.

In total, the search warrant yielded a Winchester 12 gauge shotgun, Canik 9mm handgun, Ruger P85 9mm, Ruger Mark II 22 caliber, and 130 rounds of ammunition. Several communiques with information related to Nuestra Familia prison gang activity were also located at the Paloma Avenue address in Salinas.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is encouraged to call the Salinas Police Department at (831) 758-7321. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can call the Salinas Police Department Tip Line at (831) 775-4222, or the We-Tip Line at 1-800-78 CRIME.

For media inquiries, contact Sergeant Lauricella at 831-758-7361 or the Watch Commander at 831-758-7250.

Homicide Arrest

Release Date/Time: 8/8/2017 12:15 PM
Incident: Homicide Arrest
Date: Tuesday, 8/7/2017
Location: North Main and E. Lake St

Release Authorized by: Stan Cooper, Commander
Telephone: (831) 758-7350 

On Saturday, January 10, 2015, at approximately 10:00 pm, Officers responded to the intersection of North Main and E. Lake St. on a report of a gunshot victim. On arrival, they found Dexter Barnett Sr. (42) suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Officers attempted CPR; however, Barnett died at the scene.

Early in the investigation, it was learned the victim had been in a verbal argument that same afternoon; both parties subsequently went their own ways. Since that time, Detectives have been sorting through a variety of witness statements and physical evidence which led them to identify Angel Ramirez (22) as the person Barnett was arguing with. On 8/7/17, Detectives were able to interview Ramirez regarding the incident. At the conclusion of the interview and consultation with the Monterey County District Attorney's Office, it was determined that sufficient probable cause existed to arrest Ramirez for the murder of Barnett. He was later booked at Monterey County Jail for one count of Homicide and participation in a criminal street gang.

Investigations Commander Stan Cooper will be available for media inquiry/interviews at 2:00 pm today in front of the Salinas Police Department.

***Original News Release****


Release Date/Time: 1/11/2015 2:39 AM

Incident: Homicide

Date: Saturday, 1/10/2015

Time: 10:09 PM


Location: North Main and E. Lake St


On Saturday, January 10th at approximately 10:00 pm Officers responded to the intersection of North Main and E. Lake St. on a report of a gunshot victim. On arrival they found Dexter Barnett Sr. (42) suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Officers attempted CPR, however Barnett died at the scene. 


Salinas Police Detectives are looking for any witnesses or anyone who may information regarding this incident. Witnesses are encouraged to contact Detective Gabe Gonzalez at 831-758-7127 or Detective Kristine Fairbanks at 831-758-7322.  If you would like to remain anonymous, you can also call the Salinas Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at 831-775-4222 or the We-Tip-Line at 1-800-78-CRIME.

Ceremony to Swear Daniel M. Ortega in as Interim Assistant Chief of Police Aug. 8

Release Date/Time: 8/5/2017 11:15 AM
Incident: Ceremony to Swear Daniel M. Ortega in as Interim Assistant Chief of Police Aug. 8
Date: Saturday, 8/5/2017
Time: 11:15 AM
Location: Rotunda at Salinas City Hall

Release Authorized by: Sgt. Kim Robinson 
Telephone: 831-758-7250

The Salinas Police Department would like to announce the addition of Daniel M. Ortega, who will serve as the Interim Assistant Chief of Police. The ceremony will be held Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. in the Rotunda at Salinas City Hall.

Assistant Chief Ortega has 43 years of sworn law enforcement experience. In October of 1966, he began his law enforcement career in his hometown, at the Stockton Police Department, where he was a patrol officer for five years before moving to San Jose and joining the San Jose Police Department in June of 1971. During the 28 years he spent at the San Jose Police Department, he worked an assortment of assignments while working his way up through the ranks. As a Captain, he commanded the Special Operations Division. In June of 1999, Ortega retired from the San Jose Police Department as a Deputy Chief in order to accept the position as Chief of the Salinas Police Department. He served the community of Salinas as Chief of Police for ten years before retiring in March of 2009. 

Since retirement, Assistant Chief Ortega has assisted other local agencies in an interim capacity. He was the Interim Police Chief for the Morgan Hill Police Department during 2010 and the Interim Police Chief for the Greenfield Police Department, completing his term in March of 2014. 

Assistant Chief Ortega holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from Cal Poly Pomona, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Resources and Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco, and an Associate of Arts Degree in Police Science from San Joaquin Delta College. 

Assistant Chief Ortega was born in La Junta, Colorado, and grew up in Stockton, California. He has been married to his wife, Donna, for 38 years. They reside in Salinas and have five adult children and eight grandchildren. His son, Jim Ortega, was recently selected as Police Chief for the Placerville Police Department.  

Arrest of suspect in May 1 double homicide

Release Date/Time: 8/3/2017 5:30 PM
Incident: Arrest of suspect in May 1 double homicide
Date: Thursday, 8/3/2017
Time: 6:30 AM
Location: 1000 block of Santa Ana Rd., Hollister

Release Authorized by: Spencer Critchley, Acting PIO
Telephone: (831) 998-3000

Today at approximately 6:30 a.m., Salinas Police detectives conducted a traffic stop on Juan Soto (19) of Hollister as he left his residence. Soto was taken into custody for the May 1 double homicide on Garner Avenue, in which Antonio Ortega and Emilio Barrera were shot and killed. Immediately following the arrest, a search warrant was served at his residence on the 1000 block of Santa Ana Road in Hollister, CA.


Through the course of the investigation, Detectives were able to establish that Soto was the driver of the vehicle the shooter emerged from, and fled back to after the murders.


Additionally, Soto has also been identified as the driver in an attempted murder, which took place on May 1st at Mae and Towt Streets. In that case, a 14-year-old male was walking home when the suspect exited the passenger side of a vehicle and asked the victim what gang he belonged to. When the victim denied being involved in gangs, the suspect demanded his phone and shoes. When the victim refused, the suspect stabbed him in the abdomen with a knife before fleeing in the vehicle.


Soto was booked into Monterey County Jail on two counts of homicide and one count of attempted homicide.


Original Press Release:


Release Date/Time: 5/16/2017 2:23 AM

Incident: Homicide

Date: Monday, 5/15/2017

Time: 8:25 PM

Location: 1300 Block of Garner Ave\


Officers responded to a victim of a shooting at the 1300 Block of Garner Ave. 41-year-old Emilio Barrera and 28-year-old Antonio Ortega were found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Responding units located the victims. Medical staff pronounced the victims dead at the scene. There is no further information at this time. These are the 17th and 18th homicides of the year and are being investigated as gang related.

Homicide Arrest

Release Date/Time: 8/1/2017 7:15 AM
Incident: Homicide Arrest
Date: Sunday, 7/30/2017
Time: 11:54 PM
Location: 300 Block of Main St.

Release Authorized by: Spencer Critchley, Acting PIO
Telephone: (831) 998-3000 

Salinas Police Officers were conducting a walk-through of a restaurant/bar in the 300 block of Main St. Sunday night when they saw Juan Antonio Cervantes, 28, of Salinas inside the establishment. The Officers were aware Cervantes had an outstanding warrant for his arrest related to the September 2008 homicide of Adrian Carranza, which took place in the 2100 block of Perez Street.


Cervantes was taken into custody without incident and later booked into Monterey County jail for the outstanding no-bail warrant charging one count of homicide, two counts of attempted homicide, and gang enhancements.

Update: Victim of May 17 bicycle-car collision dies of his injuries

Release Date/Time: 7/26/2017 7:07 PM
Incident: Update: Victim of May 17 bicycle-car collision dies of his injuries
Date: Wednesday, 5/17/2017
Time: 2:25 p.m.
Location: North Main St. and Casentini St.

Release Authorized by: Spencer Critchley, Acting PIO
Telephone: (831) 998-3000

The following is an update of our previous release issued on July 24, 2017. We have been advised by a relative that the date of Charles Lewis' death was July 20, 2017, not July 21 as originally reported. The date is corrected below.

On May 17, 2017 at  2:25 p.m., a vehicle was pulling out of the driveway of the Valero Gas Station just north of the intersection of North Main St. and Casentini St. Charles Lewis, 60, was riding his bicycle southbound on the east sidewalk of North Main St. at high speed. Lewis collided with the vehicle. 

Lewis initially denied he was injured and refused to go to the hospital. He appeared to be in pain, though, and was convinced to go. Once at the hospital, it was determined he had very serious injuries, including to his head and spine. He was placed in the Intensive Care Unit.

On July 20, nearly two months after the collision, Lewis, still in the ICU, died from the injuries he had sustained. 

It does not appear there were any crimes involved on the part of the driver. This was the seventh fatal collision in Salinas this year and the first involving a bicyclist.


Question of the Day

Find our Fact Sheet here for information about the June 5, 2015 arrest of Jose Velasco.

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