Man wanted for murder in Monterey arrested outside Atwater Target

A man wanted for a homicide in Monterey County was arrested outside Atwater Target on Thursday night.

Authorities responded at around 3:46 a.m. on January 23rd, 2021, for a report of two gunshots heard in the Monte Del Lago community in North Monterey County.

When deputies arrived in the area, they conducted an area check, and did not find anything suspicious during their check.

Two days later the Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division learned of a possible homicide that was yet to be reported in the 13800 Block of Vista Del Lago, Castroville.

This address is located within the Monte Del Lago manufactured home community. Detectives had sufficient information to seek a search warrant for the residence.

In the evening hours of that same day, a search warrant was executed at the residence. Ultimately, when Detectives went into the residence, a deceased male was located inside.

The male was later positively identified as 36-year-old John Leslie Jones, a resident of Seaside, CA.

Detectives spent the rest of the night and most of the following day investigating the scene and following leads in the case.

Through their investigation authorities learned that 36-year-old Andre Juan Lopez, a resident of Salinas was suspected of the killing of Jones.

Detectives immediately began trying to locate Lopez to arrest him. On Thursday, with the assistance of the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, Lopez was located at a relative’s address in Winton, California.

Merced County Sheriff’s Detectives continued to surveil Lopez, while Monterey County Detectives responded to Merced County.

Lopez was observed to leave the relative’s house and was followed to the Target Store in Atwater, California.

Lopez was observed to be with his wife 23-year-old Jenna Marie Salas, of Salinas and three small children.

Lopez was taken into custody by Merced Sheriff Deputies without incident when exiting the Target store.

Salas was also arrested a short time later. Their three children were placed into protective custody with child protective services of Merced County.

Monterey County Sheriff’s Office Detectives arrived and met with Merced County Detectives. A search warrant was served at the relative’s residence where illegal and stolen firearms were recovered.

Lopez and Salas were driven back to Salinas, where they were both interviewed. Lopez was booked into the Monterey County jail for murder, being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and committing a felony while out on bail.

Salas was booked for being an accessory to murder and a probation violation. Lopez’ bail is set at over one million dollars. Salas’ bail has been set at $10,000.00.

The investigation in this case is still ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Mike Smith at 831-755-3762 or Detective Sergeant Bryan Hoskins at 831-755-3773.

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