California

Fourth suspect arrested in fatal shooting of good Samaritan on San Diego freeway

Curtis Adams was fatally shot moments after pulling over to help a motorist that appeared stranded.

A man wanted by San Diego police in the October slaying of a good Samaritan on Interstate 15 was captured in Mexico on Tuesday and turned over to U.S. authorities, police said.

Investigators believe Edson Acuna, 24, fled to Mexico some time after the Oct. 27 slaying of 21-year-old Navy man Curtis Adams on southbound I-15, San Diego police homicide Lt. Anthony Dupree said.

Adams was driving with his girlfriend in the Logan Heights neighborhood when he stopped about 2:20 a.m. to help what he thought was a stranded motorist, Dupree said. Adams was shot immediately as he exited his vehicle.

Edson Acuna’s brother — Brandon Javier Acuna, 21 — was taken into custody and questioned shortly after the shooting. He was arrested later and charged with murder, robbery, burglary and shooting at an inhabited vehicle. Two other people — Harvey Elias Liberato, 24, and Susana Galvan, 38 — were arrested and charged in connection with the shooting shortly afterward.

Detectives subsequently identified Edson Acuna as a suspect, and a warrant was issued for his arrest on suspicion of murder, Dupree said.

On Tuesday, Mexican authorities located Acuna and took him into custody before delivering him to U.S. authorities at the border, Dupree said in a statement.

Acuna was booked into San Diego Central Jail on Tuesday afternoon and was being held without bail, according to jail records. He was also booked on suspicion of murder, robbery, burglary and shooting at an inhabited vehicle, plus an additional count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Liberato is facing murder, robbery and burglary charges and was being held without bail Tuesday. Galvan is suspected of being a criminal accessory in the case, according to prosecutors and jail records. She was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Brandon Acuna was in court for a routine appearance in the case Tuesday.

Adams was a first-generation American whose parents immigrated to New York from the West Indies, according to his cousin, Desmond Abrams Jr.

Adams enlisted in the Navy in 2016. He was a steelworker with Amphibious Construction Battalion 1 and was stationed at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, military officials said.

“He was very excited about deploying and doing his job with the Navy,” Abrams said in October. “He loved the uniform. He was really proud of being a sailor.”

City News Service contributed to this report.

Riggins writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

alex.riggins@sduniontribune.com