A shooting on Lodi’s east side left two men dead in the early morning hours of Sunday, in the city’s seventh and eighth homicides of the year.
At approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, Lodi police officers responded to reports of a shooting in the area of South Cherokee Lane near East Lodi Avenue and arrived to find 35-year-old Gerardo De Santiago, of Lodi, and 21-year-old Brian Soto, of Stockton, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, according to a Lodi Police Department press release.
Despite lifesaving measures, De Santiago was pronounced dead at the scene while Soto was taken to the hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.
De Santiago and Soto appeared to have been in an altercation in the parking lot, according to police, although they are not believed to have been in an altercation with each other.
Officers processed the scene and canvassed the neighborhood for witnesses and video surveillance footage. While no suspects or motives have been identified yet, a gun that was possibly used in the shooting was found at a nearby business.
A small memorial consisting mostly of flowers was set up on the sidewalk where De Santiago and Soto were fatally shot, not far from the Alibi Bar and Lounge, 211 S. Cherokee Lane.
Sunday’s shooting marks the second time a homicide occurred in the area of South Cherokee Lane and East Lodi Avenue this year, after 41-year-old Raymond Sieg was fatally shot while riding his bicycle in May.
Lodi Police Chief Tod Patterson attributes Lodi’s recent rise in homicides to a combination of low staffing numbers for the police department and an increase in the number of guns recovered from those suspected of crimes.
“To date, 78 guns have been taken off the streets this year, so it appears that gun violence is on an upward swing,” Patterson said on Monday. “I am concerned just about the number of guns taken off the streets.”
Patterson said his department is looking into solutions such as adding security cameras in certain areas and assigning officers to work overtime until additional officers are hired.
“Our officers are doing an incredible job with the staffing numbers we have, but this is something we need to increase in the future,” Patterson said.
Anyone with information regarding the shooting should contact the Lodi Police Department at 209-333-6727 or Detective Adam Lockie at 209-333-5541. Reference case No. 18-5623. Those wishing to remain anonymous should contact the Lodi Area Crime Stoppers at 209-369-2746.