Ballistics tests on a gun confiscated from a Santa Paula man who is a suspect in a gang-related Halloween night slaying have shown that the weapon was not used to commit the crime, authorities said.
But results from the test were not enough to eliminate John Julian Lopez, 19, from suspicion in the shooting of 18-year-old Joey Lara of Santa Paula, said Santa Paula Police Cmdr. Mark Hanson. "The tests show that that particular gun was not used in the homicide," Hanson said Wednesday. "But it certainly does not clear anybody of suspicion."
Lopez was arrested Nov. 14 while wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying a loaded .38-caliber revolver. He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. But lack of evidence prevented the Ventura County district attorney's office from filing homicide charges, authorities said.
Santa Paula police at first said the homicide was probably in retaliation for the Sept. 23 drive-by slaying of 20-year-old Richard Brian Gutierrez of Santa Paula. Gutierrez was a member of the Bad Boys gang, which has been feuding for six months with Lara's gang, the Crazy Boyz, investigators said.