The arraignment of a 22-year-old man charged with murder in the slaying of two men at a Lamont gas station was postponed Tuesday.
Darnell James Hammond is now scheduled to be formally arraigned on Oct. 26 and was ordered held without bail on two counts of first-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a felon and participating in a criminal street gang.
Hammond is accused of involvement in Friday's armed robbery at the Quality Gas Station at Main Street and Panama Road in Lamont. Deputies responded at 9:52 a.m. to the gas station to a report of a shooting and found two employees shot dead inside.
It's believed three suspects entered the gas station, sheriff's officials said. At least one was armed, and exchanged gunfire with one of the employees.
Two suspects, described only as black males, fled in a 1992-94 possible four-door brown Nissan Sentra, according to sheriff's officials. The third suspect, Hammond, ran to a nearby neighborhood where he was found 90 minutes later hiding in a yard and was arrested.
"We have evidence that puts him in that store during the robbery and the shooting," sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt said.
Investigators are following up leads, but the other suspects have not been positively identified, Pruitt said Tuesday morning. The suspect vehicle has not been located.
At least one of the suspects stole cash from the store, Pruitt said, and robbery is believed to be the motive. The crime is believed to be gang-related.
Pruitt said the store was well known as a place that cashes payroll checks. It may have been targeted because it was a Friday and the suspects knew checks were being cashed, he said.
Court records show Hammond pleaded no contest in 2012 to participating in a gang and carrying a concealed weapon. He was sentenced to one year and four months in prison.
In 2015, Hammond pleaded no contest to possession of a firearm by a felon and gang participation and was sentenced to two years, eight months in prison, according to court records.
Most recently, he pleaded no contest in August to a violation of his post-release supervision. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail.