Santa Maria man arrested for murdering co-conspirator in botched robbery

May 2, 2024


Santa Maria detectives and SWAT team members arrested a man this week for allegedly murdering his co-conspirator during a botched robbery in the northern Santa Barbara County late last year.

On Dec. 17, 2023, shortly after 4 p.m., a caller reported the shooting in the 500 block of W. Cook Street. Shortly afterwards, officers arrived at the scene where the shooting occurred during a large residential gathering, according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

Responders found two victims at the scene. They attempted lifesaving measures on one of the men, 33-year-old Joshua Anthony Maldonado, but could not save him.

Emergency personnel transported the other victim, in critical condition, to a hospital.

The investigation revealed the shooting resulted from a botched armored robbery, according to the police department. 

Investigators determined Maldonado and 33-year-old Andrew Paul Garcia attempted to rob individuals at the large gathering at gunpoint prior to the shooting. Detectives suspect Garcia shot both the partygoer who survived, as well as his associate, Maldonado, during the failed robbery attempt. 

Detectives also determined that 44-year-old Arnulfo Villavicencio-Ramirez and 34-year-old David Olaf Barajas participated and conspired in the robbery. Subsequently, police sought and obtained multiple search and arrest warrants.

Early Tuesday morning and early Wednesday morning, Santa Maria detectives served warrants at multiple locations in the northern Santa Barbara County city. With assistance from the Santa Maria Police Department SWAT Team and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Bureau, detectives served warrants in the 1700 block of N. Russell Avenue, the 400 block of N. Western Avenue and the 500 block of E. Riddering Court. 

As a result of the operation, authorities took Garcia and Villavicencio-Ramirez into custody on their arrest warrants and booked them in Santa Barbara County Jail. Barajas is currently in a California prison for unrelated offenses. He will be charged in this case, as well.

Police booked Garcia on charges that include murder, attempted murder, robbery and conspiracy. Villavicencio-Ramirez was booked on robbery and conspiracy charges. Barajas, too, faces robbery and conspiracy charges.

The Santa Maria Police Department asks that anyone who has information about the investigation contact Detective Whitney at (805) 928 – 3781 ext. 1329 or the Communications Center at (805) 928 – 3781 ext. 2277.


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