Two men are dead in what appears to be an attempted home invasion robbery on Highway 99W just south of Corning on Tuesday evening.
According to the home’s resident, Enrique Santamaria Zepeda, 48, he was at home with his wife, Maria Isabel Valencia Lepe, 44, and his 23-year-old son, Austreberto Rafael Santamaria Valencia, when a white Dodge Charger pulled up in front of the 3245 Highway 99W home around 6:12 p.m.
A woman got out of the car, went up to the home’s front door and asked for help with her vehicle, reported the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office.
“My son went out to help a woman at the car,” Zepeda said. “They did that to distract us from the men who were coming to rob our home.”
Zepeda and his wife exited the back door of the house into the carport and were met by two Hispanic men, both of them armed with handguns, he said.
“One of them put a handgun into my side and told me to relax and go into the house, and another did the same to my wife, but she screamed,” Zepeda said. “The girl stayed with the car and two others forced my son back to the carport at gunpoint.”
Zepeda and Valencia both struggled with the suspected robbers and the family members were able to run into the house and lock the door.
“My son went into his bedroom and got a handgun,” Zepeda said. “In the meantime, two of the men came up to the backdoor and broke out the window.”
He said his son then came to the door with the handgun, stepped out and shot two of the alleged robbers in the head, both of them twice.
“The other two started running away,” Zepeda said as he washed blood off the floor of his carport on Wednesday.
According to the sheriff’s office, one of the men got into the Charger with the woman and drove south on the highway. The other man ran away on foot, southeast across the road into an olive orchard.
“I told my wife to call 911,” Zepeda said. “The police came right away.”
He said he didn’t know who any of the suspected robbers were, including the two men killed in his carport.
The sheriff’s office said they appeared to be between the ages of 25 to 35 and the coroner’s office is in the process of identifying them. Autopsies are pending.
Sheriff’s detectives recovered from the property a semi-automatic handgun and a semi-automatic rifle.
Johnston said a California Highway Patrol officer in a patrol vehicle observed the Charger on the highway but was unable to catch up with it and the car and the two suspects in the Charger are still at large, as is the man who fled on foot from the shooting.
No one in the home was injured.
Zepeda said the men were dressed in jackets and jeans, one in a white shirt, all of them wearing gloves, but nothing over their faces. The man who ran away on foot was reportedly dressed in black wearing a white and black ball cap.
He said the motive to the attempted robbery was a quantity of marijuana located inside the home.
According to Johnston, the three suspects who fled are considered armed and dangerous.
The sheriff’s office has contacted area hospitals in case one of the three suspects who fled was injured in the exchange of gunfire, and area law enforcement is looking for the white Charger which is reported to have a damaged front license plate.
Tehama County District Attorney Matt Rogers was also at the site of the shooting as part of the investigation. At this point in the investigation, it is reported that Valencia has not been placed under arrest as it appears he was defending his life and home.
Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to call the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office at 529-7920 or at 22840 Antelope Blvd., Red Bluff.