Police make second arrest in 2018 homicide in Lodi

Santana Rodriguez

A second arrest has been made in connection to a double homicide in Lodi that occurred last September in the area of Cherokee Lane and Lodi Avenue.

Santana Rodriguez, 19, of Sacramento, was taken into custody on Tuesday in the 1100 block of East Kettleman Lane, according to a press release from the Lodi Police Department. Rodriguez was booked into the Lodi City Jail and is facing a murder charge in the fatal shootings of Gerardo Maldonado De Santiago, 35, of Lodi, and Brian Soto, 21, of Stockton.

This is the second arrest police have made in the case. On Sept. 14, less than a week after the shooting, Jaime Mora, 24, of Stockton, turned himself in to police. Mora is still in custody at the San Joaquin County Jail on murder charges.

In the early morning hours of Sept. 9, officers were dispatched to the scene after receiving reports of a shooting with two victims down. Officers arrived and located two male victims suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Lifesaving measures were attempted on De Santiago, who succumbed to his injuries at the scene. Lifesaving efforts were attempted on Soto, who was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries.

According to a search warrant filed Oct. 24, 2018, Rodriguez was Soto’s girlfriend and was present at the time of the shooting.

A Lodi police officer found a firearm on the ground under one of Soto’s arms, the warrant said, and as he was approaching, Rodriguez approached as well and grabbed the gun as if to give it to the officer. The officer ordered her to drop the gun and took the weapon.

Rodriguez told officers that she and Soto left the Alibi Bar, 211 S. Cherokee Lane, Lodi, at approximately 2 a.m. Sept. 9 when they saw a group of people including two females.

“One of the females looked at them and asked the other female ‘Isn’t that the girl you are funking with?’’ the warrant said. “At that point, one of the males looked at Soto and said ‘what’s up n****’ and grabbed at his waist as if he had a gun.”

Rodriguez and Soto were walking away when she heard 10 to 15 gunshots, the warrant said. She ran away, but Soto was shot.

Rodriguez told officers that she did not know the other victim, and that she never saw Soto with a gun.

According to the warrant, cell phone video footage obtained from a witness showed Soto holding a gun and arguing with a subject in the parking lot before a suspect wearing a red shirt shot Soto with another gun multiple times.

The motive for the shooting is still under investigation. A gun that was possibly used in the shooting was located at a nearby business.

The investigation is ongoing at this time and there are several potential witnesses who were in the parking lot at the time of the shooting that have not come forward, according to police. The Lodi Police Department is asking anyone with information regarding this shooting to contact the department at 209-333-6727 or Detective Shaw at 209-333-5541. You may also contact the Lodi Area Crime Stoppers at 209-369-2746 to remain anonymous. Please reference LPD Case #18-5623.

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