3 Of 4 Wanted In Bystander Restaurant Shooting Are Behind Bars

SANTA ANA (CBS) — Officials say three of four suspects in the fatal shooting of an innocent bystander outside a Santa Ana restaurant are behind bars.

Ivan Sanchez, 21, of Santa Ana, is accused of killing Esteban Navarrete, 35, about 10 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of Mariscos La Ola restaurant at 1714 E. McFadden Ave., and of trying to kill Navarrete’s wife and friends, said Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

The four were reportedly arguing over which state in Mexico was best.

After reports of Sanchez’s arrest were broadcast on television Friday, two more suspects walked into the Santa Ana police station to talk to detectives, Bertagna said.

“They saw themselves on TV and while we were doing interviews they walked in and said, `We saw ourselves on TV and we want to talk to homicide detectives,’ ” Bertagna said.

“They interviewed them and they made incriminating statements so they were placed under arrest.”

Maria Rocha, 28, of Santa Ana, was being held in Santa Ana’s jail on $1 million bail, Bertagna said. The other suspect is a 17-year-old boy who lives in Santa Ana, who was being held in juvenile hall, Bertagna said.

Police were still looking for the fourth suspect, Bertagna said.

Navarrete and his party were in the restaurant when an argument broke out, Bertagna said.

The two groups got into a fistfight in the parking lot, and Navarrete and his party decided to leave before things escalated, Bertagna said.

As Navarrete got into his car, a man believed to be Sanchez approached, he said.

Although Navarrete told the man he was not with either group, the man shot him in the head, Bertagna said.

Navarrete did not know the people involved in the dispute and was not involved in it, Bertagna said.

Police released a security camera video in the hopes of tracking down a suspect, and an anonymous tipster called police Thursday and identified Sanchez, Bertagna said.

The tipster “was offended by the fact that someone they knew was involved in the crime of shooting an innocent person who was just trying to have dinner with his family,” Bertagna said.

Police tracked Sanchez’s movements with a helicopter and other patrol officers on the ground Thursday night, Bertagna said.

Sanchez made several stops for money before he, his father and two friends got on the Santa Ana (5) Freeway at First Street in Santa Ana and headed south.

Thinking they were headed to Mexico, police stopped the car at Red Hill Avenue, Bertagna said.

Sanchez was arrested on suspicion of murder and three counts of suspicion of attempted murder, and was being held in the Orange County jail on $1 million bail, Bertagna said.

Sanchez’s father and two friends were detained and questioned before being released, Bertagna said. Their statements have been forwarded to Orange County prosecutors who will consider whether to charge them, Bertagna said.

Navarrete has been described as a “good family man” who worked at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange for more than 15 years.

 (©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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