When it comes to areas like Arvin and Lamont, the number of homicides in these two small towns have neighbors on edge. Last month, two men were gunned down on haven drive in Arvin. The double homicide is similar to another last summer in Lamont.
The victim’s families are begging witnesses to come forward with information. And they beg our viewers to not let their pleas become the norm.
The evening of July 6 began just like any other Friday night for 27-year-old Simon Prieto and his wife, Diorica. “He had told me that his friends were coming over and he had told me he was gonna go to the store and get some beer. He told me he loved me, he gave me a kiss, and he left.”
She watched her husband get in a car with his friend, 22 year old Carlos Gomez. They were just going down the street, when minutes later…”we heard gunshots.”
Diorca and her in laws ran down the block. Carlos was already dead, he didn’t make it out of the car. But Simon did and tried to run for his life before the bullets hit. Minutes later, his family was stopped by yellow tape. Simon was still breathing. “We were yelling telling him to hold on that the ambulance was on their way, but he just didn’t make it.”
Watching her husband die, not being able to hold him is a living nightmare. Now Diorica left to hope and pray someone will finally come forward.
“There was a bunch of people there but nobody has came forward to say what they say and what they can remember.”
Looking back, she can’t think of any red flags that would explain the brazen violence that ended his life. “Nothing was wrong, he just got up every day to go to work, came home to be with me and his kids. He worked from 5 a.m.. to sometimes 7:30 p.m..”
This is what we know about the double murder, it happened in front of a busy market. Detectives say surveillance video shows at least two Hispanic men hiding their faces drive up, and fire into the red car that Simon and Carlos were in. The killers took off in a black SUV, similar to a Chevrolet Equinox. Detectives can also see on the tape, witnesses who saw it all unfold, witnesses who haven’t come forward.
“Without the community’s help, it’s at a stand still.”
When it comes to motive, it’s not all that clear. Investigators say despite it being a drive-by with masked men they aren’t convinced it’s gang related.
“I’ve heard that it was mistaken identity, but then again you can’t always hear what you hear, so it may have been a random act of violence. Someone just trying to make a name for themselves. And in doing so, they took two innocent lives.”
“He was not a bad man. I know he had tattoos and most people are like oh he’s a gangster, but the tattoos he had on them were my kids names, his mom and dad, my name. A memorial to his grandmother. He loved his kids, he loved his family, he was just everything to his family. everything to us. “
If you have any information on the murders of Carlos Gomez and Simon Prieto, you’re urged to call the sheriffs department at 861-3110. Remember, you can always remain 100% anonymous by calling in your information to Secret Witness at 322-4040.