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Suspect in Lompoc soldier's killing sought in Santa Maria Police SWAT operation
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Suspect in Lompoc soldier's killing sought in Santa Maria Police SWAT operation

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Santa Maria police officers were searching for a man wanted in connection to the death of a Lompoc soldier during an operation Friday at a residence on South Thornburg Street, according to a spokesman. 

Up to 30 officers, including members of the SWAT team, responded to the 1500 block of South Thornburg Street shortly after 12:30 p.m., following a report from a patrol officer who allegedly spotted Walter Morales at a residence, according to Lt. Russ Mengel. 

It's believed Morales was last seen hiding at the residence, said Mengel, who added that the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office provided a helicopter for air support. 

The operation was still underway as of 6 p.m. Friday, according to Lt. Mark Streker. 

"This is an all-assets operation," Mengel said. 

Morales is a suspect in the death of Marlon Brumfield, 22, a U.S. Army soldier who was killed in a gang-related shooting Sept. 8, 2019, near the intersection of North A Street and East Ocean Avenue while home on leave from Germany, according to Lompoc Police. 

Morales was allegedly spotted following two separate shooting incidents in Lompoc on July 11. 

Another suspect, Francisco Gutierrez-Ortega, was arrested Sept. 19, 2019, after turning himself in to Santa Maria Police and has been since been charged with murder for the benefit of a criminal street gang. He pleaded not guilty. 

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The following is taken from the Lompoc Police Department's calls-for-service log and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office daily arrest log. Those appearing as "arrested" are only suspected of the crime indicated but are presumed innocent.

The following is taken from the Santa Maria Police Department's calls-for-service log and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office daily arrest log. Those appearing as "arrested" are only suspected of the crime indicated but are presumed innocent.

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