Three arrested on suspicion of beating man to death in West Hollywood
Three people have been arrested on suspicion of beating a man to death last week in West Hollywood, a killing that sheriff’s detectives say was committed at a busy intersection and in front of onlookers.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives on Monday arrested Neko Anthony Denson, 23, Natali Adrianna Gonzalez, 27, and Krissie Morales, 29. All three were booked on suspicion of murder, the Sheriff’s Department said. They have yet to be charged by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, court records show.
Just before 12:30 a.m. Feb. 12, deputies from the West Hollywood sheriff’s station were called to a report of a fight at La Cienega Boulevard and Melrose Avenue, the Sheriff’s Department said. Before they arrived, someone flagged down officers from the Los Angeles Police Department and alerted them to a person lying in the crosswalk on the northwest corner of the intersection.
Luis Enrique Vega, 49, was pronounced dead at the scene. Two people were seen running north on La Cienega before the police arrived, the Sheriff’s Department said.
Vega, of Long Beach, had been socializing that night with a group of friends at E.P. & L.P., a rooftop bar and restaurant, Sheriff’s Lt. Derrick Alfred said. The three people arrested in connection with his death were also at the bar, although detectives do not believe they were involved in any kind of dispute or altercation with Vega’s group that precipitated the attack.
Vega, his friends and the suspects left the bar just before 12:30 a.m. and were standing outside when Denson accused one of Vega’s friends of laughing at someone, Alfred said.
“Hey, we’re not laughing at anyone, we’re just talking,” Vega’s friend responded, according to Alfred. “Just relax.”
Vega was walking back to his car when Denson assaulted one of Vega’s friends, Alfred said. Vega had run back to intervene when a woman struck him with an object, possibly a bottle, Alfred said.
Denson attacked Vega, who fell and hit his head, Alfred said. Denson, Gonzalez and Morales kicked his head as he lay on the ground, he said.
Sheriff’s detectives used video from the bar to identify one of the suspects, Alfred said. Denson, who is from Maryland, was living with Gonzalez in downtown Los Angeles at the time of his arrest, Alfred said. Morales is a resident of Los Angeles.
Alfred asked that anyone who witnessed the assault on Vega or recorded at least some of it with a cellphone to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.
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