By Brie Stimson
Published August 22, 2019
A 27-year-old man has been arrested in the drive-by shooting deaths of a University of California, Irvine, astrophysics scholar and his friend in Los Angeles last week, authorities announced Wednesday, according to reports.
Jonathan Charles Johnson was charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of Jose Flores Velazquez, 24, and Alfredo Carrera, 24, who were saying goodbye to each other in the South Los Angeles neighborhood where they grew up when they were shot, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Flores Velazquez was a doctoral student at the University of California, Irvine, and Carrera was a childhood friend and soon-to-be father.
Johnson was also charged with the attempted murder of a third man who was wounded shielding his child during the shooting.
Johnson was detained Friday by deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley station after a license plate check connected the car he was driving to one caught on surveillance video near the crime scene.
Johnson had strong gang ties but the victims were "not gang members by any stretch of the imagination," the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said, according to The Times.
Those mourning the death of Velazquez this week included Cal Poly Pomona, from which Velazquez graduated in 2018, and SACNAS, the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science.
No weapon has been found and authorities have not given any information about a motive but said the victims didn’t know the people in the car.
Johnson has been booked into jail on $2 million bail.
Investigators continue to search for anyone else involved in the shooting, The Times reported.