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Man Arrested at Border in Teen’s Death

Times Staff Writer

A Long Beach man has been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the drive-by shooting of a 15-year-old boy from San Pedro, authorities said.

Cesario Vasquez, 18, was picked up by U.S. and Mexican authorities while trying to cross the border into Tijuana.

Sgt. David Cannan of the Long Beach Police Department said investigators believe Vasquez fired the single shot that killed Brian Cruz early Sunday.

Cruz was struck in the upper part of his body about 12:30 a.m. while walking in the area of Pine Avenue and 1st Street in downtown Long Beach with a group of relatives and friends.

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Cruz had finished his first night of work at a nearby restaurant earlier Saturday evening and had just gone out to another eatery with his companions when the shooting occurred.

Cannan said Vasquez was a passenger in the front seat of a car containing five young males who pulled alongside Cruz and exchanged words with him. Police arrested four of the occupants, but Vasquez had eluded authorities until being stopped at the border Sunday night.

Cannan said police released the other four suspects and Vasquez will be the only one to face charges in the shooting. No arraignment has been scheduled.

Cannan said police still are trying to determine the motive for the slaying. They say Vasquez and the others in the car have gang affiliations, but investigators don’t think the killing was related to gang activity.

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