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Walter Morales, left, and his attorney, Darren Ritchie in Lompoc Superior Court during a preliminary hearing on Sept. 10. 

A Lompoc Police detective continued testimony about his investigation into the shooting death of an active-duty Army soldier in Superior Court on Sept. 13.

Lompoc Police Officer Michael Miller recounted the description of the gun allegedly used by 27-year-old Walter Morales to shoot Marlon Brumfield, 22, at about 2 a.m. on Sept. 8, 2019 near the intersection of Ocean Avenue and A Street.

A witness, a friend who was with Brumfield when he was shot, described the shooter’s gun as a magnum-style revolver, similar to the gun used by Rick Grimes’ character in the television show, "The Walking Dead," according to Miller.

Morales is charged with the murder of Brumfield, who was on leave from Germany when he was killed, after allegedly believing he was a rival gang member. 

Additionally, Morales is charged with four sentencing enhancements, including causing great bodily injury and committing the shooting for the benefit of a gang.

Morales received three additional charges, including attempted murder, shooting at a dwelling, assault with a deadly weapon and an enhancement of using a firearm from a separate incident in which he allegedly shot at an occupied vehicle in the 1000 block of West Olive Street July 11, 2020.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

After Brumfield’s death, Morales allegedly fled to Mexico and was arrested by SWAT officers July 17, 2020 in the 1500 block of South Thornburg Street in Santa Maria after nearly a year on the run.

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Morales’ preliminary hearing began Thursday in Lompoc Superior Court and continued for a second day on Friday. 

Francisco Gutierrez-Ortega, of Santa Maria, is Morales’ co-defendant in the case who turned himself into police more than a week after the shooting, according to Miller. 

He allegedly told investigators he was the driver of the Ford Mustang getaway vehicle and that Morales was the shooter.

Before turning himself in, Gutierrez-Ortega’s mother told him to “do the right thing,” Miller testified on Monday.

On Oct. 9, 2020, Gutierrez-Ortega pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in the case, court records show.

Reading from a stipulated agreement, Deputy District Attorney Scott Donahue cited the medical examiner's report, which stated Brumfield died from multiple gunshot wounds after he was struck with four bullets, including in the upper left arm, the abdomen, the forearm and a graze wound to the chin. 

The preliminary hearing continues at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 21 in Superior Court.

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