Peace officers accused of murdering San Miguel man

September 19, 2014

elk hornSan Luis Obispo County Sheriff deputies arrested two peace officers who allegedly killed a man in a bar fight in San Miguel earlier this month.

Alvaro Jaramillo Medrano, 54, of San Miguel died during an altercation with Sergio Aranda, 35, of Salinas and Travis Woolf, 36 of San Miguel. Both suspects are employed as correctional officers at Salinas Valley State Prison in Monterey County.

On Sept. 7 at around 11 p.m., emergency responders found Medrano, a San Miguel resident, unconscious outside the Elk Horn bar. An ambulance transported him to a local hospital, but doctors declared Medrano dead on arrival.

Both men are being charged with voluntary manslaughter.

Jorge Estrada

These two peace officers, in the prime of their kick ass careers, beat up an old man, let’s hope they loose their jobs. They are trained to restrain and it was two on one, the old man would need to be on angel dust or some superman drug, if not the senior beaters should serve time too.


There was no reason for a death in this situation but like many others they will probably get away with it….shifted to another prison/position, etc…. This seems to be what the government does. They train these “officers” and don’t want to let them go for some reason. If normal citizens were doing what they do we’d be in jail getting beat up and abused by them. Why not call for back up or make a citizens arrest? I guess it just makes more sense in their “prison mode” to kill. Our system is broken, the people in prison are broken and so are their “caretakers”. We are now living in a police state where we are being watched, listened to, abused, killed by people that take an oath to protect and serve.


I agree, but could you and others stop doing something that really bugs me? Stop spelling “lose” with two “o” s. Thank you.


From The Tribune:

“Working in close cooperation with the District Attorney’s Office, we determined that there was no intent to kill Mr. Medrano, which would have led to a homicide charge,” Cipolla said.

Read more here:

“The two men were being charged with a count of voluntary manslaughter”

No intent to kill…

Like S.L.O. Cal Fire Ryan Mason, who supposedly had “no intent” when he beat a person almost “lifeless”, these two will probably have charges reduced and keep their jobs…Time will tell


Peace Officer…in this case, an oxymoron.


More like an IRONY. Oxymoron is like jumbo shrimp or government efficiency.


Nobody violated protocol. You never get the name before it appears on some official conclusionary report, ie a bolo or an indictment or a warrant. If law did anything special in this case, it was not to protect the suspects but to protect themselves from shoo-flies or anybody else who might spin this case to his or her own ends.

The lesson of the fireman applies here. No matter what happened or will, somebody is going to try to give the cops a black eye.


Correct.. and as soon as ops stop trying to do that to everyone else, maybe we will stop trying to do it to them.


Gordo- the special treatment was bailing out before a mug shot was taken! Yea, that’s quite common. Ask for that House Special next time you are being driven down Kansas Avenue.


They bailed out before the mugshot could be released to the media. Once you are out of custody the sheriff’s department does not release a mugshot. Get your facts straight before you run around like some conspiracy nut!


One bailed before a mug shot was taken and one had his mug shot taken.


If they were booked a mugshot would have been taken along with fingerprints, if they were booked for a felony a DNA sample would be taken too even if the bondsman was waiting in the lobby with cash in hand. That is the whole point to the booking process; dtermining who the cops brought in. Otherwise the accused could make claims like, “it wasn’t me or you arrested my twin.”


It is customary to delay the actual arrest, and or release of names when they are First Responders. Ryan Mason comes to mind. As a professional courtesy , they get time to lawyer up, seek retirement benefits if possible, and much more. The fact that they are Prison Guards making 88 g’s a year was their ticket to a soft landing. Time was given to concoct stories, line up “new” witnesses and more. That’s how it’s played.

Forget about it Jake, it’s San Miguel..


While that is a possibility, it is speculation at this point. I am sure there are other plausible scenarios that don’t include favoritism for the delay in arresting them or releasing their names. A bar fight + conflicting stories + possible suspects living outside the local area could mean that it took time to sort things out and determine the facts.

My objection is not with the way that they handled this (at least so far). I worry that they might not treat others as fairly unless they do have some sort of influence.


This prison is notorious for having scum guards. There was a book written about it by a former guard “The Green Wall”. Several guards were abusing inmates. They had gone to court and were on the verge of being fired but there wasn’t enough “evidence” now these “pillars of society” are CHP officers in our county. Be careful when you get pulled over these guys are dangerous just like the murderers at San Miguel Bar. Why isn’t the public more outraged? This is similar to Ferguson, a “minority” being killed by law enforcement. No one is outraged?! As usual, sheriff’s department is diffusing and deluding the public…..apathetic citizens in this county. More outraged by “affairs” than murder by people that are supposed to look out for others, even if they are criminals.


The public is not outraged because–two large groups of people were fighting outside the bar. The last time this happened, the dispute was between two Hispanic gangs. This was a bar fight outside the Elkhorn. It’s happened before.

This incident can’t be called racial when one of the two people arrested is Hispanic along with the victim. All three are Caucasian and I assume they were all U.S. citizens (Mr. Madreno was a vineyard manager whose statement on the vineyard web site shows an outstanding command of the English language.)

We don’t know how or why any of these people were involved in the fight.

This is not similar to Ferguson. Prison guards are not police, they are safety officers. I doubt if they were on duty while at the Elkhorn, and your statement that “they are supposed to look out for others, even if they are criminals” does not preclude self defense. Actually, none of these people should have been involved in a fight outside a bar, but we don’t know much about the fight, at this point.

The Sheriff’s Department had to wait until the official cause of death (injuries from the fight caused the death) was determined before making arrests.

I take issue with your statement “this prison is notorious for having scum guards”. Yes, I’m familiar with “Green Wall” , having met the author before he self published his book, but if you paint all the guards with one brush, then I’d contend that the Elkhorn is known for having scum patrons.


It seems like you are in law enforcement so I “understand” your stance. I would think we would have higher standards for those paid to protect our citizens and paid by tax dollars than patrons of a bar in San Miguel. Maybe this will be their cover-up /excuse that they were protecting themselves?! Why not just call 911 or leave instead of engaging. Tony Cipollas pussy footing around on ksby is obviously their foundation for probably letting these guys off the hook. I guess once law enforcement is “trained” they can get away with murder, then if there is trouble you can be shifted to a new position. Very rarely are they found guilty of their heinous indiscretions like you or I would.


One does not have to be in law enforcement to hold back on a rush to judgment and making unwarranted assumptions about racism. I am not in law enforcement and frequently criticize officers who abuse their authority or give “passes” to brother officers who engage in bad behavior. Still, I like to see a little more evidence than has been given here before making conclusions. Some of your critiques may be right but there is nothing but your personal agenda to support them at this point.


@ cencali says: “I would think we would have higher standards for those paid to protect our citizens and paid by tax dollars than patrons of a bar in San Miguel.”

Let’s get one thing straight. These are “turn keys” “screws” “boss man”. They are Not Police Officers and only Peace Officers while in the line of duty, i.e. baby sitting a bunch of inmates.

Other than perhaps in their oath of office, give me an instance where they “protect our citizens”!

Again, they are not Law Enforcement Officers!



California Correctional Officers are sworn Peace Officers! That’s why there union, and ranks, are call the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. And as Peace Officers they are on duty at all times …

The CCPOA are a bunch of over paid baby sitters; how is this so? There are private prisons (corporate owned) doing the same job, handling the same custody level prisoners while paying employes 1/3 the amount that CCPOA members receive!

The CCPOA says they have “the toughest beat” in the country while not telling you that most of the violence they see directed at them is brought on by their own actions, example? The last CCPOA officer killed with CDCR was at Chino, for what? For not fulfilling his obligation in bringing in drugs and cell phones for certain convicts! One criminal killing another? Oh well! Play the game, pay the piper!


Read up on the “quality” of some of those private prisons and their abuses before you make that comparison. I agree that state prison guards have a history of excessive wages but that needs to be addresses in staffing policies (more guards = less overtime) and other union negotiations.

It is a thankless job and good wages are necessary to attract competent people. If the state is hiring incompetent, corrupt or psychopathic people as guards (and I think they do) that needs to be addressed with a better hiring process. Just as not all cops are bad, neither are all prison guards.



No one, especially me, said anything about all CCPOA members being “bad”, nor that private prisons are any better…

What I said, and will stand by, is that CCPOA Officers are over paid! Also, their union is far to powerful and their stranglehold on all things “rehabilitative” within the prisons in California is almost criminal.

I know many, many CCPOA Officers, and within that number the ones who are of the opinion that “rehabilitation” should take a backseat to their “overtime” and “job security” is downright scary! Also, they see staffing increases as a threat to their excessive wages, their life styles and retirement benefits down the line!

Talk to street Peace Officers about CDCR Officers being sworn peace officers and their contention they have the toughest beat in the nation, it’ll enlighten you a bit….


I am curious about your comment regarding CHP officers. Other than that one loser captain who was found drunk in his state car and the deputies let him off, I haven’t heard much about corruption or abuse in the CHP. Is there something we all should know?


Archibald, Mackinga….. Read “The Green Wall” do an online search for scandal at SVP prison. It happened several years ago but it’s online.


Oh, okay. You weren’t talking about the CHP in general, just those officers that were former CDC guards at that prison. I will look into it. Was on Amazon reading reviews of that book last night.


Vodicka stop trying to push your book!! Im pretty sure this guy is the one who wrote the book and it flopped because it was full of lies and half truths.


Sorry I’m not a guy and I would never demean myself by working at a prison. I have nothing to promote other than the truth.


I am not surprised that they are jail guards for the state.


Prison guards are not police officers. They are just guards.


licensed to kill.


I have a question for Sheriff Ian: Why wouldn’t you let Tony Cipolla release these names to the media twelve days ago? Could it be because Arranda and Woolf are C.O.’s and received special treatment? Just wondering.


“Special Treatment?” What are you imagining, new curtains and throw pillows in their jail cells? They arrested them for murder following an investigation. It sounds like the sheriff’s department did its job. Not everything that happens is part of some conspiracy..


A man died and the names of his alleged assailants weren’t promptly released.

Name another case where it took a week and a half for the public to find out who was involved.


hey paso, how would it have benefited you to have the info a week and a half


what actual difference would it have made to you or anyone else?

Theo P. Neustic

They don’t release names until there has been an arrest made.


they do not typically release the names of people involved in a death until they determine whether or not it is a criminal homicide or justified homicide. With all due respect it appears that you simply have an axe to grind with anybody who works for the government. While there’s plenty to criticize about in government agencies this case is not one that merits it.