Police officers and local politicians faced the media together at the LAPD's Northeast Division headquarters Tuesday morning.
They were providing details about the arrest of an 18-year-old former Marshall High student in connection with the shooting death of a local pizza deliveryman Juan David Vasquez Loma on August 7.
SUSPECT HAS GANG TIES -- WAS ARRESTED AFTER ROUTINE TRAFFIC STOP
LAPD Rampart gang division officers arrested Jose Beltran on Aug. 19 for carrying a loaded weapon in his vehicle.
According to Det. Jose Carrillo of the LAPD Northeast division--who is handling the investigation--Beltran was initially stopped on a routine traffic violation.
Rampart officers reached out to Northeast detectives, suggesting that Beltran looked a lot like the composite sketch developed through witness accounts.
Carrillo told reporters that the police ran several lineups with the two people in the car with Vasquez Loma to ID Beltran.
Beltran was charged with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder on August 29.
Carrillo also revealed more about what happened before the shooting.
SUSPECT FOLLOWED VICTIM'S VEHICLE FROM MICHELTORENA AND EFFIE
He said that the suspect and the victim initially met up at the corner of Micheltorena Avenue and Effie Streets north above Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake.
Beltran is alleged to have followed Vasquez Loma through the hills on Effie to Berkeley, Silver Lake Boulevard, and, then finally, Scott Place, where he shot the 25-year-old in the head.
Carrillo and others at the press conference said it was a route that only a local--like Beltran, who attended middle school and high school in the area--could have followed closely.
Investigators think at some point Vasquez Loma may have waved at Beltran, signaling for him to go around his vehicle. They think Beltran may have confused the wave with a gang sign, prompting the shooting.
Vasquez Loma was taken to the hospital and soon after pronounced brain dead. He was taken off life support the following week.
POLICE WAITED TO ANNOUNCE ARREST UNTIL CHARGES FILED
Capt. Bill Murphy told Echo Park Patch that waiting to announce the arrest until charges were filed is standard procesure. It means that the District Attorney thinks enough evidence exists to move the case forward in the legal system.
Murphy noted ruefully that this was NOT what happened in the case of Giovanni Ramirez, who was identified as a suspect in the Dodger Stadium beating before being charged. He was subsequently exonerated.
Police stressed the importance of the composite shot in Beltran's arrest and encouraged anyone with information regarding incident to call Detectives Jose Carrillo or Larry Burcher at (213) 847-4261.
Beltran will be arraigned Wednesday morning at the L.A. Criminal Courts in downtown LA.