SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. – An 18-year-old woman allegedly met her victims online, lured them to a rural area where two of her male accomplices lied in wait to shoot and rob the victims, police said.
On April 22, 2019, a shooting was reported in the rural area near Lake Solano Park on Putah Creek Road in Solano County. The 18-year-old man said that he was shot in his leg and robbed of his cell phone, cash, and his shoes. Deputies did an area check and were able to locate surveillance of a green Land Rover, the suspect vehicle. They also were able to find an expended shell casing at the crime scene, police said.
The victim told authorities that he met the woman online. She told him that she would pick him up at his home. She arrived in her green Land Rover and they drove up to the desolate location. The victim was unable to provide the woman’s name, but through investigation she was identified as Amit K. Chhoker, of Woodland.
Also involved was Braden L. Lerma, 19, of Winters. Lerma was one of the two men who pulled the victim from Chhoker’s vehicle, shot him, and stole his belongings. Authorities learned that Chhooker dropped off the two male suspects prior to driving the victim to the area. The injured victim ran from the location around a mile in the dark until he found a home and asked for help. The two male suspects got into the green Land Rover and left the location.
The investigation was ongoing over the two months following the attack. Two months into the investigation, on June 18, 2019, just after midnight another 18-year-old man was shot at the same location and also by two male subjects. The method of the robbery was nearly exact to the April 22nd incident. The suspects used a different handgun in the second incident, which was determined by the casings located at the scene.
Chhoker and the victim again arrived to the two male suspect who were lying in wait. The victim was pulled from the vehicle, assaulted, and shot once in his lower extremities. He was robbed of two ounces of marijuana and his cell phone. He also told authorities that the female suspect drove a green Land Rover. Surveillance footage again captured the vehicle driving into and out of the area.
“Pings” from the second victim’s cell phone led detectives to a Woodland neighborhood. A green Land Rover was located parked on the 900 block of Garcia Drive in Woodland. Woodland Police found that Chhoker drove the Land Rover and lived on Garcia Drive. On June 21, 2019, Chhoker was taken into custody without incident in the City of Woodland.
Chhoker’s Land River was seized for evidence and suspected human blood was found inside the vehicle. Both Putah Creek Road incidents were learned to be pre-planned by Chhoker, Lerma, and the other male suspect. Sheriff’s officials said that it was determined that Lerma was the shooter in at least one of the incidents.
On June 23, 2019, Lerma was located by Solano County Investigations and the Winters Police Department. He was arrested during a felony traffic stop in a parking lot in the City of Winters. He was taken into custody without incident.
The Solano County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the Winters Police Department and the Solano County District Attorney’s Office continue to investigate this incident. Anyone with any further information is encouraged to contact Detective Ronnie Sefried at 707-784-7059 or contact the Solano Crime Stoppers, which is an organization designed to provide law enforcement agencies in Solano with information regarding criminal activity.
All information received is confidential and informants can remain anonymous. Citizens who witness a crime can call 707-644-STOP (707-644-7867) any time of the day or night. If their information leads to arrest, informants are eligible to receive a cash reward. The amount of reward, up to $1,000.00, is dependent on the type of crime.
For additional media inquiries, please email our Public Information Officer -Deputy Cully Pratt at Dcpratt@solanocounty.com or via telephone at 707-784-7511.
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