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Suspect charged in death of soldier who was killed while on leave in California

Francisco Gutierrez-Ortega and Walter Morales Jr. are suspects in the shooting of Spc. Marlon Brumfield, police said.

LOMPOC POLICE DEPARTMENT

By STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS Published: September 24, 2019

One suspect has been charged and police are searching for a second suspect in the slaying of a Germany- based soldier who was shot to death while on home leave in California.

Francisco Gutierrez-Ortega, 24, was charged with murder Monday in the death of Spc. Marlon Brumfield, a 22-year-old Stryker maintainer who was stationed in Vilseck with the Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment, according to television station KEYT. Police are still looking for a second suspect, 25-year-old Walter Morales Jr.

Brumfield was shot in the early morning of Sept. 8 while walking down the street. Police told TV station KCOY they believed the slaying was random and that Gutierrez-Ortega and Morales had gang affiliations and had never met Brumfield before.

Family and friends remembered Brumfield in a Friday memorial event in which hundreds of people in Lompoc, Calif., marched from the area where the soldier was killed to a peaceful rally at City Hall. Brumfield was remembered by family and friends for his "goofy" sense of humor, his smile and his untapped potential.

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Fred McCree, who said Brumfield was like a godson to him, energized the crowd with a plea for people to come together and bring an end to the violence that has led to six homicides in Lompoc this year.

“The Bible says where there’s unity, there’s strength,” McCree said. “I believe in this community we have the power that it takes to bring change, the power that it takes to impact lives, the power that it takes to bring about a revolution that violence will not have its course in this place. We have the power to do that.”

McCree credited Brumfield with bringing so many people together Friday, and challenged the attendees to continue fighting to bring about that change.

Material from a Tribune News Service story by Willis Jacobson of the Lompoc Record was used to compile this report.

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