LOS ANGELES (AP) – Police have arrested an 18-year-old man on suspicion of shooting and killing an Army veteran on a sidewalk in the San Fernando Valley.
Los Angeles police spokeswoman Officer Nuria Vanegas says Vincent Estrada was arrested Tuesday in the Sylmar area. He was booked on suspicion of murder.
Vanegas says she had no information on the motive behind Sunday's attack.
Police and witnesses said 21-year-old Francisco 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.
Garcia died at the scene. No one else was injured.
Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon told reporters that "the ironies are obvious. To survive as a soldier in an overseas conflict, only to be killed in your neighborhood upon your return."
Garcia had returned from Afghanistan over the summer.
Brian Enriquez, 21, told the Los Angeles Times that he, Garcia and a group of friends left Garcia's girlfriend's house when she decided to go to sleep. They headed to another gathering when the cars pulled up.
Enriquez said he had never seen them before and does not know why they would kill Garcia, whom he had known since middle school.
He said the shooter said, "Are you ready for this?" before opening fire.
"He was a very loving, caring person," Enriquez said. "He would always have a smile on his face. An all-around amazing individual."
Mourners left flowers at the spot of the shooting.
Garcia's friend, Fernando Mora, 25, crouched down to pray on the sidewalk where the veteran died. He said Garcia had recently told him he had lost fellow troops in Afghanistan.
"He came back alive," Mora told the Los Angeles Times. "So to die like this, it's not right."