The search for a Dos Palos man suspected of killing his roommate ended late Monday at a Fresno train station.
Omar J. Villafana, 29, is in the Merced County jail on $1 million bond on one count of first-degree murder. His name previously was reported under a different spelling. He is suspected in the Friday slaying of his roommate, 22-year-old Humbert Cisneros.
Cisneros’ death marked Merced County’s first homicide in 2017.
Villafana was sought by police over the weekend and on Monday, when police searched nine homes. After community members encouraged Villafana to turn himself in, he met police at the Amtrak station in Fresno, according to Dos Palos police Chief Barry Mann.
“We appreciate him reaching out to us and surrendering the way he did,” Mann said. “He knows a lot of people, which was one of the difficulties getting him into custody. He had a lot of places to go. He’s well-liked by most of the community, but under these circumstances the only option was for him to turn himself in.”
The police chief said Villafana had a friend reach out to investigators late Monday.
“That person told us where (Villafana) would meet us,” Mann said.
Mann said he’s known Villafana for about 15 years. Though Villafana previously had run-ins with the law, Mann said, he was always respectful to officers and was off their radar for the past couple of years.
Cisneros was shot and killed about 6:30 a.m. Friday at his home in the 1900 block of South McDonald Avenue. Police said Cisceros and Villafana were roommates and that Cisceros also was dating Villafana’s sister.
Cisceros “was arguing with his girlfriend and (Villafana) got involved in the dispute,” Mann said Tuesday. Police said other roommates tried to intervene in the dispute.
The chief said investigators saw a single gunshot wound to the victim’s upper body, but said pending autopsy results will reveal whether he suffered any other injuries. Cisceros was pronounced dead at the scene.
Exactly what sparked the argument between Ciseros and the adult woman remained unclear Tuesday.
After the arrest, Mann said, Villafana did make comments to police “indicating he was involved in the incident,” but Mann said it was too early to elaborate on any statements made to investigators.
The weapon used in the slaying, believed to be a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun, has not been found.
Police expected to turn the case over to the Merced County District Attorney’s Office by the end of business Tuesday.
Rob Parsons contributed to this report.
Brianna Calix: 209-385-2477