San Benito County

Hollister probing woman's fatal shooting; suspect still at large

Friends, family mourning 19-year-old Ariana Zendejas

Hollister community reacts to deadly shooting

HOLLISTER, Calif. - Hollister police are continuing to investigate the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Ariana Zendejas over the weekend.

Meanwhile, suspect Jose Barajas remains at large and police say he should be considered armed and dangerous.

"(She has) a wonderful family, a lot of really supportive friends here in the community," said Hollister Police Chief David Westrick. "Being a father myself I can't help but think of my own kids."

Westrick said Zendejas was in a car, minding her own business when she was shot.

"My heart goes out to the family and friends," he said.

Westrick said he doesn't believe there was much of a connection between Barajas and Zendejas but he declined to discuss the investigation further because he didn't want to muddy up the integrity of the investigation.

Westrick said that a little before 9 p.m. Saturday, Zendejas' car was being driven in the area of West and B streets when it crossed paths with Barajas' car.

Barajas fired shots, striking Zendejas. A passenger called 911 and reported the incident on the way to the hospital, where police officers met them.

Westrick said he won't say how many people were in each vehicle at this point.

Police believe that a woman named Vanessa Flores may be with Barajas, but they don't know if she went with him willingly. The two did have a relationship of some kind but Westrick said he didn't know to what extent.

A wanted poster is being distributed throughout the country.

"There's no place we won't go to find this guy," Westrick said. "We need to get some closure and some justice for this family, for this community, for her friends. This cannot go unanswered."

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