An alarming trend: two killed in another officer-involved shooting in Santa Ana

- An investigation was underway Friday into an officer-involved-shooting in Santa Ana, where two suspects were killed and two others arrested, authorities said.

The shooting took place about three miles from where an officer-involved gun battle was fought Wednesday, leaving a suspect wounded and a detective with a graze injury to his head.

No officers were injured in Thursday's shooting, which was reported about 5:30 p.m. in the 1100 block of East Fourth Street, according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

It was not immediately clear what led up to the shooting. The names of the two dead men were withheld pending family notification. 

Two other suspects were taken into custody, according to a report from the scene, where the suspects' covered bodies were visible. Their names were not immediately released by police.

"We're seeing more guns,'' Bertagna told reporters at the scene. "We're seeing more robberies. We're seeing more gangsters carrying guns and not afraid of using them.''

The uptick in gun violence this year has unsettled the city and authorities. "We're seeing a lot of gang activity, a lot of shootings,'' Santa Ana police Chief Carlos Rojas told reporters Thursday night. "There have been 50
shootings in Santa Ana so far this year.''

This latest shooting occurred about three miles from the 2700 block of West McFadden Avenue, where Wednesday's gun battle occurred. 

Carlos Michael Rodriguez, 30, of Santa Ana, a documented gang member who was paroled Sept. 27 after eight years in prison for assault with a gun on a Santa Ana police officer, remains hospitalized as a result of wounds he suffered in Wednesday's gun battle.

Rodriguez is suspected of opening fire on a detective who approached him during a "proactive enforcement'' in the area, which has seen a rash of gang violence in recent weeks, Bertagna said.

Rodriguez will be booked on suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer, possession of a gun within a school zone, being a gang member in possession of a gun and possession of a concealed weapon, according to police.

It was not immediately clear if the officer-involved shootings Wednesday and Thursday were connected. Both shootings were being investigated by the Santa Ana Police Department and the Orange County District Attorney's Special Assignment Unit, which is standard practice in all OIS incidents.

From Victoria Spilabotte:

The flashing lights of police vehicles are becoming a more familiar scene in Santa Ana neighborhoods where police said gang violence is on the rise. 

 

“The suspects have been very brazen, they’ve all been carrying firearms or attempting to seriously hurt or kill our officers,” Chief Carlos Rojas, Santa Anna Police Department, said. 

 

Back to back officer involved shootings earlier this week led to two suspects being shot and killed Thursday night. 

 

On Wednesday police engaged in a gun battle with 30-year-old Carlos Rodriguez who fired at a detective, the bullet grazed the side of his head. 

 

“We are stepping up our enforcement efforts against these known gang members and career criminals,” Rojas said. 

 

He believes those gang members are also responsible for a big increase in the number of shootings this year. 

 

In January police recorded a total of 41 shootings compared to January of 2015 where only 24 shootings happened. 

 

Rojas blames state legislation that allows early release of some criminals. 

 

He points to Wednesday’s suspect Carlos Rodriguez, who has a criminal record that includes violence against police, according to the department. 

 

Community members are concerned about the increase in violence in their neighborhoods. 

 

“Not too long ago I just moved and the same night there was shooting,” Santa Ana resident, Eduardo Velasco, 

 

“It’s alarming not only for the immediate city, but for the surrounding cities as well,” another resident said. 

 

In total, the city has experienced 54 shooting in 2016. 

 

Rojas said, if the violence continues the city is on track to surpass last year’s total number of shootings. 

 

 

The police department is planning on more probation checks and stings in neighborhoods where gang activity has increased. 

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