SOLANO COUNTY — Solano County authorities say two 18-year-old victims were lured on social media by a female suspect before they were robbed and shot by two other suspects.
“This morning, we had a third outstanding subject that was involved in both of these incidents. We located him this morning and arrested him,” said Solano County Undersheriff Brad DeWall.
Sheriff’s investigators arrested a 17-year-old boy along with two other suspects, 18-year-old Amit Chhoker, of Woodland, and 19-year-old Branden Lerma, of Winters. Deputies took Lerma into custody at a strip mall and all three were booked on suspicion of attempted murder and armed robbery.
In two separate incidents, one last April and the other just last week, the suspects were accused of contacting the victims through social media, arranging for Chhoker to meet them at their homes and driving them to Lake Solano Park in rural Solano County. That’s where the two male suspects lay in wait before ambushing the victims.
In the first incident, Chhoker got the victim inside her green Land Rover and out in the middle of a rural area after midnight.
“At that point, they were getting friendly and the doors opened up and two unknown males engaged the victim, the male, and ended up shooting him,” DeWall said.
He was hit once in the leg before he was robbed.
The trio then abandoned the injured victim in the middle of nowhere. He was able to walk more than a mile in the darkness and get help from an area resident.
Then another incident occurred just after midnight on June 18.
“It was so similar,” DeWall explained. “We connected that immediately. The victim, another young male.”
The two male suspects also shot him while inside the vehicle with Chhoker before stealing marijuana and a cell phone from him.
“Being out in a remote area, no cell phone, neighbors are miles apart, it could’ve very well ended badly,” DeWall told FOX40.
Fortunately, both victims survived.
Surveillance footage, which identified the suspects’ Range Rover, and cell phone pings from towers eventually led investigators to Yolo County neighborhoods where they zeroed in on them.
“We used good, old-fashioned police work is how it basically started up and then we started developing investigative leads, which lead to modern technology,” DeWall said. “Our investigations unit did a great job in putting this together.”
If you believe you are a victim of the three suspects, investigators would like you to call Detective Ronnie Sefried at 707-784-7059 or contact the Solano Crime Stoppers.