Photo by Gustavo Castillo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Gustavo Castillo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A suspect was arrested Thursday in connection with a fatal shooting in Panorama City last month that left a 22-year-old man dead and police said the killing may have resulted from a personal insult.

Esli Garay was shot multiple times about noon Oct. 12 in the 14600 block of Novice Street, east of Van Nuys Boulevard, by a passenger in a Gold SUV that the victim had just exited, according to Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon.

Garay died at the scene, Vernon said.

Arrested today was Gustavo Steve Sanchez Jr., 24, of Lincoln Heights, an acquaintance of the victim for at least the past two years, the lieutenant said.

“Through process of elimination, detectives discovered a friend with whom Garay had partied the night before. It seems Sanchez may have suffered a personal affront by Garay that led Sanchez to kill,” Vernon said.

Garay and Sanchez “had hung out” in Burbank, where Garay lived, the night before the killing, he said.

“Detectives developed enough leads to get arrest warrants for Sanchez and his girlfriend, who was also detained this morning, but later released,” Vernon said.

Both were the subject of several days of surveillance “which helped detectives verify their hunches and establish the couple’s daily patterns,” he said.

They were taken into custody separately after each left for work from the apartment they share, Vernon said, adding that detectives later served a search warrant at the apartment and collected evidence.

The gun used in the shooting has not been recovered, he said.

Vernon said shortly after the shooting, which happened on a secluded street with limited access, that a woman was driving the SUV in which Garay and the suspect had been traveling.

“Interestingly, Sanchez has a short criminal history with so-called non- violent crimes,” Vernon said. “This jump to murder is another example that there is no such thing as a non-violent criminal. For criminals, the potential for violence is always present.”

Sanchez was being held at the Inmate Reception Center in downtown Los Angeles in lieu of $2 million bail, according to sheriff’s online jail records.

City News Service

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