Fallen beer bottle linked to suspect linked to Delano cemetery shooting: reports

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DELANO, Calif. (KGET) – Police may have had a harder time identifying Ray Anthony Torres if he had fired beer.

According to recently released court documents, a bottle of Budweiser dropped by a man who witnesses said was the shooter in a fatal shootout at North Kern Cemetery. Witnesses told investigators they saw the gunman drinking beer near a grave moments before opening fire.

Surveillance video that showed the gunman fleeing from the cemetery reinforced the case against the 19-year-old. A probation officer who reviewed the footage said the gunman looked very much like Torres, who was part of his workload two years ago, according to documents filed by Delano Police.

Investigators examined a photo from DMV that showed Torres with two white metal earrings in each ear – just like the shooter – and a slight tilt to the left side of his lips that was also visible in footage of the shooter, according to the documents.

Arrested in Ohio in August, Torres is charged with first degree murder and faces a life sentence if convicted. His next hearing is on December 7.

The shooting is said to be linked to a gang.

Torres is a recognized gang member and there were photos of him on social media waving and wearing clothing associated with North Delano gangs, according to reports.

The victim, Joel Santos Maldonado, 30, was wearing colors associated with southern gangs at the time he was shot, according to the documents.

Witnesses to the shooting, which took place shortly after 5:30 p.m., said the gunman drank beer while standing near a grave. A witness described him as “stocky” and wearing a red hat, a black t-shirt and blue denim shorts.

This witness told police that the gunman drank from a dark colored beer bottle and after the shooting dropped the bottle while running. The shooter was only ten meters away, according to the witness.

Another witness reported hearing the two men insult each other, according to the documents.

The bottle was found along the path taken by the shooter, police said. Another Budweiser bottle was found near a grave. Torres is believed to have visited his former brother-in-law’s grave, according to reports.

Torres’ Snapchat data showed he was in Ohio, and detectives continued to monitor his whereabouts until DNA evidence linked him to the crime, police said.


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