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Wasco man arrested on suspicion of murder

On April 12, Kern County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Juan Romero, 19, on charges of first-degree murder for the killing of 16-year-old Adrian Garza.

Public Information Officer Lori Meza said that Romero was arrested after obtaining probable cause through investigation.

Romero was arraigned on April 14 and, according to KGET-TV, pled not guilty. He is expected to have a pre-preliminary hearing on April 26 and a preliminary hearing on April 27.

The homicide occurred in January when deputies were dispatched to the area of 16th Place and Cedar Avenue in Wasco for a shooting victim.

According to KGET, court records said a surveillance video from the location of the crime showed a white Chevrolet Malibu pulled up to Esparza and fired three times. It was found that the vehicle belonged to Romero’s father.

Through further investigation, detectives discovered messages where Romero threatened to shoot Esparza and Instagram photos of Romero with a Glock 29 mm firearm.

There was also a video of an unidentified person driving the Malibu with the Glock 29 in their lap the day before the shooting.

KGET further reported that when detectives recovered the vehicle from Romero’s stepmother, she stated that Romero was in possession of the Malibu on the day in question.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Kern County Sheriff’s Office at 661 -861-3110 or the Secret Witness hotline at 661-322-4040.


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