A Long Beach man was arrested and charged with murder and robbery in the fatal shooting, resulting in a car crash that closed down the Santa Ana College campus Monday, Sept. 16.
Antonio Lamont Triplett, 49, was arrested on Sep. 17 and charged with the murder of Osvaldo Garcia, 29, as well as second-degree robbery and for firing a gun that resulted in death. Police say the crime was not gang-related and was not connected to SAC or any of its students.
“The campus is just basically a victim of circumstances,” Santa Ana Police Department’s Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said. “There’s nothing related to the homicide that has a nexus to the college campus in any way, shape, or form. We don’t want people to think [Santa Ana College] is not a safe place. This just happens to be where the [victim’s car] ended.”
On the day of the incident, two people of Carson were detained in connection to the crime, but both suspects were released without charges three days later. The investigation is ongoing.
“We believe it’s a robbery. There was some sort of altercation [between the suspect’s vehicle and the victim’s vehicle]. Eventually, the suspect’s vehicle struck the victim’s vehicle, which knocks it on to the campus. And then that’s when the shooting occurred,” Bertagna said.
SAPD officers responded to reports of a collision near 17th and Bristol streets around 1 a.m. Sept. 16. When officers arrived at the scene, they found Garcia in SAC parking lot six suffering from gunshot wounds.
On the day of the incident, district officials sent out an alert at 3:44 a.m. stating for students and faculty to not come onto campus and at 6:44 a.m. to remain away from the college because investigations were ongoing. Around 11:42 a.m., an alert was sent out that school would be open for evening classes to resume. The victim’s vehicle made no notable property or landscape damage for the campus.
Santa Ana has had a decreasing number of murder and homicide rates, according to Bertagna. Yet, armed robberies are increasing.
“Santa Ana has its issues,” Bertagna said. “We have a chief that has a strong strategy, which our goal is to take as many guns off the streets as possible. Fewer guns mean fewer shootings.”