Police in Southern California have arrested a teenager in connection with the weekend shooting death of an Army veteran who had recently returned from Afghanistan.
Vincent Estrada, 18, of Sylmar, was arrested Tuesday and was charged with murder in the death of 21-year-old Francisco Garcia, according to an LAPD statement. His bail was set at $1 million.
Los Angeles police spokeswoman Officer Nuria Vanegas told the Associated Press she had no information on the motive behind the attack on Garcia, which happened in the early hours of Sunday morning. Investigators said they believed the shooting stemmed from an earlier dispute, but the context is not known.
Police and witnesses said Garcia had left a party at his girlfriend's house when two cars pulled up to him. A man in one of the cars jumped out, smashed a beer bottle on the ground and yelled at Garcia. Investigators said the killer then walked to the other car, grabbed a handgun and began shooting at Garcia.
"Apparently, a simmering dispute had boiled over during the night, and this suspect came looking for Francisco," LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon said. "Figuring out the dispute should lead us to the shooter.''
Garcia had returned from Afghanistan over the summer. Police initially described the weekend party as a welcome home gathering for Garcia, but family members told reporters that was not the case.
"The ironies are obvious,'' said Vernon. "To survive as a soldier in an overseas conflict, only to be killed in your neighborhood upon your return.''
Detectives have interviewed several witnesses and collected evidence, including several bullet casings. Anyone with any information regarding the shooting is asked to call (818) 838-9948.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.