2 Men Arrested in Beating of 65-Year-Old During Home Invasion Robbery Near Lompoc

Ruben Jesse Gomez Jr. and Javier Castillo Vasquez, both of Santa Maria, are seen in booking photos released by the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office on Jan. 21, 2019.

Ruben Jesse Gomez Jr. and Javier Castillo Vasquez, both of Santa Maria, are seen in booking photos released by the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office on Jan. 21, 2019.

Two Santa Maria men have been arrested in connection with a home invasion robbery that left a Lompoc-area resident with a fractured skull, officials announced Monday.

Officers on Saturday arrested Ruben Jesse Gomez Jr. and Javier Castillo Vasquez,  both 38, on suspicion of attempted murder, robbery of an inhabited dwelling, kidnapping, elder abuse and conspiracy.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said at around 5 a.m. on Jan. 12, an individual rang the doorbell of a 65-year-old man who was alone in his residence located in a remote area of Lasalle Canyon Road.

The visitor, whom the homeowner couldn’t see through the peephole, allegedly identified himself as Sheriff’s Office personnel who needed to speak with him.

The victim opened the door and was then immediately struck several times with a pistol and what appeared to be a night stick, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities said the 65-year-old tried to fight his attacker, but was overwhelmed.

The intruder forced his way into the bedroom and “demanded money and guns and said he would harm the victim’s family if his needs were not met,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

The victim handed over the money in his pocket before the robber used duct tape to bind his hands behind his back. The resident was able to free himself and use a baseball bat to hit the perpetrator, who then took the bat and beat the victim with it, investigators said.

The robber eventually left through the front door, leaving the victim with facial lacerations and a fractured skull, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

“Despite his injuries, the victim managed to drive to friend’s house nearby for help,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “The friend then drove the victim to the hospital and called 911.”

The 65-year-old was expected to survive his injuries, the agency said the day of the incident.

Authorities said one of the suspects was known to the victim before the crime. It’s unclear whether or not Gomez and Vasquez were both at the site of the incident the day it happened.

Both were being held at Santa Barbara County Jail on $1 million bail, the Sheriff’s Office said.

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