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
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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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