A surprisingly young Silver Lake man is now the key suspect in El Chavo busser and pizza delivery boy Juan David Vasquez Loma's murder on August 7. The LAPD composite released earlier this month -- in the likeness of Loma's killer -- looked quite a bit older than 18-year-old Jose Beltran, who was charged last night with the car-to-car shooting.
Beltran lives near the crime scene with his mom, reports CBS2. There have been no indications that the two young men knew each other before the murder...
... or that Loma had provoked Beltran in any way that night. At the time, Detective Larry Burcher at the LAPD's Northeast Division said he believed the shooting was a "road rage incident," and that there was "no reason to believe [the shooter and victim] knew each other."
From the Weekly's original report:
City News Service reports that Loma was driving a couple colleagues home from Garage, a popular post-bar munchie stop located along Sunset Boulevard and open until 4 a.m., when someone in what was possibly a green Honda pulled up next to his Chevy truck and shot him through the head.
The shooting was reported at 5:08 a.m. in a nice neighborhood on the border of Silver Lake and Echo Park, at the intersection of Silver Lake Boulevard and West Scott Place. Sources tell CBS2 "that the shooting suspects are a man and a woman who were driving in a dark-colored four door sedan."
This morning, the LAPD released a presser saying that "Beltran had been arrested on August 19, 2011, for an unrelated gun charge in LAPD's Rampart area." But after questioning, detectives determined he was the one responsible for shooting Loma on August 7, causing the D.A.'s office to "file one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder on Beltran."
Loma's colleagues at El Chavo restaurant released the following statement after he was shot:
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El Chavo Restaurant is deeply saddened by the senseless and violent crime committed against fellow co‐worker and long time employee Juan David Vasquez Loma. ...
Juan is a well‐liked co‐worker, compadre and friend. He is a kind and thoughtful person and diligent worker. Juan works 2 full‐time jobs and regularly sends funds home to his family in Mexico City.
Beltran was put on life support at a nearby hospital immediately after the wee-hour shooting. But even when he was declared brain-dead by doctors, declaring a "homicide" was tricky, because his mom was still trying to fly in from Mexico and police didn't want her to find out her son had died on some airport TV somewhere.
One detective told us it was a "homicide-in-waiting, as bad as that sounds."