Fresno police Wednesday identified suspects in two high-profile slayings committed in February – one of pregnant Amber Baker, 20, who was shot inside her apartment near Griffith Way and Blackstone Avenue on Feb. 26, and the second of Tina Luster, 42, whose body was found near Blackstone and Home avenues on Feb. 17.
Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer named Gabriel Garza, 18, and Isaac Razo, the 17-year-old boyfriend of Baker, as suspects in her slaying. Jonathan Guizar, 19, is also sought in the case and on unrelated robbery charges.
Baker, reportedly six weeks pregnant, invited friends to an apartment she shared with her 4-month-old son, her sister Cassie and three other women. Her sister told The Bee she left the apartment after an argument and was killed sometime later.
The chief identified Vincent Cortez, 18, as the person in custody in the death of Luster, a homeless woman who was found stabbed on a rainy Friday morning and died a short time later. Dyer said Cortez is also believed to be responsible for a stabbing a few blocks south at Blackstone and Olive avenues. No motive in either case was released.
The slayings highlight an uptick in violence in the city in the first two months of 2017. So far, there have been 15 killings, compared to eight at this time last year, Dyer said. In response, police launched an anti-violence sweep last week, putting about 80 officers on the street with orders to target the city’s most violent criminals. Dyer announced a number of arrests in that sweep Wednesday.