Kings County Sheriff's Office identify victim in deadly orchard shooting

Kate Nemarich Image
Friday, February 10, 2023
Suspect arrested after man shot and killed in Kings County, deputies say
The suspect was chased for about half a mile until he was taken into custody.

KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Officials have identified the man shot and killed in Kings County Thursday morning.

The Kings County Sheriff's Office says 23-year-old Rafael Suarez Ibarra was shot and killed by 23-year-old Samuel Lepez near an orchard near Elder and 12th Avenues.

Just after 11 am, Kings County sheriff's deputies found a man who had been shot between railroad tracks and the orchard.

Investigators say witnesses were able to give them a detailed description of the suspect, later identified as Lepez.

A plane was used to help track Lepez as deputies chased him on the ground.

"Well, certainly anytime you have somebody running with a gun that just shot someone, yeah, there's definitely going to be a threat. Heading south from here is back into Hanford and there's homes and neighborhoods," explained Sgt. Nate Ferrier.

Lepez is being held in the Kings County Jail without bail on first-degree murder charges.

Nearby Hanford Christian School was placed on a brief lockdown between the initial call and the arrest.

That lockdown was later lifted.

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