Suspect in Taft shooting being held in L.A. County on $3 million bail
A shooting on the 100 block of North Street in late September has resulted in a large drug seizure, the recovery of stolen guns and Taft Police are seeking criminal charges against two people, including attempted murder and drug trafficking.
No one was injured in the shooting.
One of the suspects is currently being held in Los Anglees County where he faces three counts of attempted murder from an incident that took place in Lancaster about a week after the Taft incident.
The incident started early on Sept. 29 and Taft Police on Thursday released results of the investigation.
Here is the police account of how the investigation unfolded:
At about 3:15 a.m. on Sept. 29, Taft Police were dispatched to the 100 block of North Street for multiple reports of “shots fired” in the area. The officers developed probable cause to believe the shots came from 123 North Street and were toward the occupants at 127 North St. However, no one responded to the officers at 123 North St.
Police then executed a search warrant at 123 North St. Inside the house, officers said they seized two stolen firearms along with ammunition, an AK-47 and 9mm pistol that had been reported stolen in separate Arizona burglary reports. Additional items seized included a ballistic vest, approximately 250 grams of suspected tar heroin and with what officers described as sales paraphernalia.
Further investigation revealed Melissa Avila was the current resident of the house where the shots were fired from and her cousin John Anthony Contreras Jr, 39, were at the house at the time of the incident.
Officers sought Avila and Contreras for questioning.
On Oct. 9, Avila went to the Taft Police Department and provided her statement to the investigating officers. Avila was arrested for possession of controlled substance for sale and was later released from custody pending further investigation.
No charges from the case have been filed in Kern County Superior Court.
Police obtained a warrant for Contreras and notified the Lancaster office of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department that Taft Police Officers believed Contreras fled to Lancaster.
On Oct 7, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office notified Taft Police that they had arrested Contreras. the LASO said Contreras was suspected of shooting three individuals earlier that day in Lancaster and was in their custody for three counts of attempted murder.
Local police went to Lancaster and interviewed Contreras about the Taft shooting.
Police said Contreras cooperated with the investigating officers and provided a statement of what had occurred on North Street.
He is in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for three counts of attempted murder. He is being held on $3 million bail.
The case was submitted to the Kern County District Attorney’s Office for review and and are seeking charges of attempted murder, discharging a firearm into an occupied strutcture, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, grand theft of firearms, and possession of a controlled substance for sale.