Police shot to death two gunmen who opened fire in the direction of a party crowd early Sunday, authorities said.
Nobody else was injured in the confrontation at Five Star Nurseries near the border of Corona and Riverside.
“At best they were firing shots up in the air above the crowds,” said Deputy Lester Harvey of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which is handling the investigation.
It was unclear whether they were firing at people, he added.
Johnny Armendariz, 18, and James Martinez, 21, of Riverside were pronounced dead at the scene.
Police responding to a call regarding a large party saw the men firing a shotgun and a handgun, Harvey said.
The officers identified themselves and opened fire when the gunmen refused commands to drop their weapons, Harvey said.
“Apparently they were party-goers and they got into a heated verbal confrontation with someone else in the party,” Harvey said. “They went to their vehicle and retrieved at least one firearm. . . . The other one may have had the weapon with him already.”
A party-goer said the officers shot without warning and the two men did not fire.
“They had a rifle and they shot it up into the air,” Tina Jones said of the men. “And as the [police] came around the corner, they turned around with the shotgun, but they had it pointing it at the cop, and the cops just started shooting at them.
“But they did not fire a shot at the cops.”