Costa Mesa police arrest 2 men on suspicion of gang-related murder, assault

Two police vehicles with lights on them.
Costa Mesa police have arrested two men for their alleged involvement in a fatal stabbing and assault on the 1700 block of Placentia Avenue Tuesday.
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Costa Mesa police announced Wednesday two local men have been arrested on suspicion of their involvement in the possibly gang-related murder of one man and assault of another Tuesday near the intersection of Placentia Avenue and 17th Street.

Israel Antonio Valencia, 25, and Christopher Mathew Pena, 18, both residents of Costa Mesa, were taken into custody and booked on charges related to the incidents, CMPD reported in a release Wednesday.

Detectives are still investigating the incident, which took place Tuesday shortly before 11 p.m. on the 1700 block of Placentia Avenue. Officers responding to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon arrived at the scene to find a 22-year-old Latino with multiple stab wounds unresponsive.


Paramedics attempted to resuscitate the victim but later pronounced him dead at the scene. A news release issued Wednesday reported the stabbing was just one crime to occur in what is believed to be a gang-related incident.

A second victim, described only as a 19-year-old Latino, was reportedly assaulted in an area close to where the stabbing victim was located and sustained minor injuries, police said. He was transported to a nearby hospital by a family member, police reported Wednesday.

During the investigation, detectives and gang investigators learned the murder and assault were gang related and soon after identified Valencia and Pena as possible suspects. The two were located and arrested Tuesday, police reported, although details on how and where they were found have not yet been released.

Anyone who may have information about this case is asked to contact CMPD Det. Ramon Hernandez at (714) 754-5097.