A man accused of murdering a 22-year-old In-N-Out employee in East Los Angeles during a street robbery was behind bars Monday awaiting arraignment, along with his alleged accomplice.
Abraham Julianny Caberea, 19, of Alhambra, was charged last week with murder and second-degree robbery in the killing of Rene Alejandro Lupian, who was gunned down in the 900 block of South Concourse Avenue as he walked home from work around 10:30 p.m. Nov. 7.
Wayne Andrew Seare Jr., 20, of Montebello, is facing one count each of second-degree robbery and accessory after the fact.
Both men are scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 16. Caberea is being held without bail and Seare’s bail is set at $2.1 million.
They were arrested two days after sheriff’s officials and members of Lupian’s family held a news conference at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles to publicize a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.
A female suspect captured on video surveillance and sought as a person of interest has been identified, but her role in the murder, if any, remains under investigation, according to Deputy Juanita Navarro of the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department.
Sheriff’s investigators say Lupian’s attacker struck him in the head with what may have been the butt of a gun and then shot him twice before running off with his backpack.
”It appears that Rene gave up a backpack he was carrying but resisted giving a gold chain and cross that was given to him by his grandmother as a keepsake,” said Homicide Bureau Captain Christopher Bergner.
The family heirloom that the victim wore around his neck was found on the ground where he died. Authorities believe the victim may have been fighting with the suspect to keep it in his possession.
Detectives said video surveillance from a nearby liquor store on Whittier Boulevard showed the driver of a white compact car watching Lupian closely as he stopped into the store and then put beer that he had purchased in his backpack. A woman could be seen getting into the car just before it followed Lupian onto South Concourse Avenue, and a witness saw a white compact car leaving the scene, authorities said.
Cabrera and Seare were arrested two days after sheriff’s officials and members of Lupian’s family held a news conference at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles to publicize a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.
Lupian was described by family, friends, and co-workers at an In-N-Out restaurant in Pico Rivera as beloved and amazing. He had applied to a trade school to pursue his dream of becoming an architect.
“My little brother was amazing,” Christina Lupian said at the Dec. 19 news conference. “He was my best friend, and he didn’t deserve this. This can happen to anyone’s brother, and I just ask please, please, please, just any information anyone has, to just please … come forward.”
He studied literature at Antioch University and enjoyed writing poetry and music, according to Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who recommended the reward for information on the gunman.