The Tragic 2002 Murder Of Actor Merlin Santana - Grunge

A few days earlier, Merlin Santana and Brandon Quintin Adams were at a restaurant when they met a young woman who told them her name was Mercedes. She’d recognized Santana from TV and gave him her number. On November 9, Santana called and invited her to the studio, and she came over. “What they didn’t know was that she was being dropped off by other people who were also in the car, two young men,” Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum told “Final Cut.”

When Mercedes arrived she only stayed a few minutes, made a phone call, and then left. Adams, suspicious, followed her out and saw her get into an SUV that drove off and parked further down the street. Adams and Santana left a short time later. It was then that two men — Damien Andre Gates and Brandon Douglas Bynes, both in their 20s — began firing at the car, according to the Associated Press. One of the .30 caliber bullets from Gates’ rifle passed through the car’s trunk into the backseat and through a headrest before hitting the back of Santana’s head. “A lucky shot, or unlucky for Mr. Santana,” LAPD Detective John Garcia told “Final Cut.”