Attempted murder suspect arrested

On Saturday, Oct. 6, officers of the Ridgecrest Police Department responded to the area of West Coso Avenue and North Norma Street regarding reports of shots fired. At the scene, several subjects were fleeing the area.

The victim later related to investigators that he was at another residence within the city where he said he was approached by the suspect who allegedly displayed a firearm and had a disagreement with another occupant inside of the residence. The victim said he tried to defuse the situation by talking the suspect away from the residence and leaving with the suspect in his vehicle.

While allegedly brandishing the firearm to the victim, the suspect brought the victim to two locations within the city while telling the victim he intended to “execute” him.

At the second location, a residence in the 300 block of North Norma Street, the suspect allegedly ordered the victim into a garage and onto a large piece of plastic sheeting/tarp. The victim reported that he believed he was about to be shot and killed, so he engaged in a physical struggle with the suspect and was able to flee the garage. As the victim ran from the scene, the suspect allegedly fired the gun several times. The victim said he was able to escape without being hit by the gunfire.

Scene investigation on Oct. 8 revealed a stolen vehicle.

Ridgecrest Police Department Detective Manuel Castaneda along with Detective Ryan Sloan led the investigation that led to Omar Casillas being identified as the alleged shooter.

Casillas was on active parole through the California Department of Corrections and while living in the unincorporated area of Kern County north of California City, was working in the Ridgecrest area. A warrant was sought and granted for the arrest of Casillas on charges of attempted murder.

On Oct. 12 police stopped Casillas as he left his residence in the Cantil/Cal-City area and took him into custody with assistance by the California City Police Department. A search of his residence and property revealed a handgun and ammunition that is unlawful for Casillas to possess. since he is a convicted felon. He was subsequently transported to the Kern County Jail and booked on a warrant for attempted murder, a parole hold, and open charges of felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Story First Published: 2012-10-24