Sheriff’s deputies on Friday continued their hunt for a third suspect linked to a double shooting that killed one Novato High School student, identified as a 17-year-old from Marin County, and injured another.
"I’d like to say we’re really, really close, but the fact of the matter is that we’re being very cautious in what steps we take in regards to apprehending the suspect," sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Doug Pittman said.
The coroner on Friday identified the shooting victim as Edwin Josue Ramirez Guerra of San Rafael. Forensic tests scheduled for early next week are expected to help officials determine the cause and manner of death.
"The past two days have sent shock waves throughout our town," said Mayor Pat Eklund, who described her hometown as a "peaceful" and "safe community."
"These crimes are not a normal occurrence" in Novato, Eklund stressed.
Marin County sheriff's deputies, Novato police and search-and-rescue teams raided two homes Thursday afternoon and arrested two Novato High School students, both minors.
Tactical teams first secured a residence near Rowland and Novato boulevards where they detained one homicide suspect, Marin sheriff's officials said.
The teams then moved to a second location on the 1400 block of Leafwood Drive, where a second suspect was detained.
Search teams also combed the hillside near the Marin Country Club neighborhood, where the attack occurred. The lone surviving student is said to be improving, deputies said.
Investigators have not revealed a motive, but addressed reports that an alleged sexual assault off-campus might be related.
"We’re aware of that case," said Pittman, who didn’t know of any "connection direct" to the ongoing investigation.
"It does involve minors who live in the area so the reality is we know that there are some common names," he added.
On Friday, Eklund offered condolences to the victims' families and assured them that officials are doing everything they can to solve this case.
"Violence will not be tolerated in our city," she said. "Any life lost is one life too many – not in our town."
Wednesday's crime scene is about five miles south of Novato High School. Pittman said a victim called 911 around 5 p.m. He reported he had been shot and stabbed on Fairway Drive near St. Andrews Drive. He told deputies that three people were behind the attacks, but deputies couldn't find them.
The student had to walk about a third of a mile to get to a point where he had cell service to make the call, Pittman said.
During their search, sheriff's deputies found a second victim — Guerra — dead on a hillside from apparent gunshot wounds.
A candlelight vigil is being planned at 7 p.m. Sunday near the Novato High School library, according to social media.