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News Release

Friday, November 7, 2014

Media Relations

Suspect Arrested for North Hills Murder NR14424pv

Lincoln Heights:  Los Angeles homicide detectives arrested 24-year-old Gustavo Steve Sanchez, Jr., this morning for the shooting death of Esli Garay, on October 12, 2014 in North Hills.  Garay was shot by the passenger of a Gold SUV, as Garay exited that same car.  Garay, 22, died at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds.

 “Through process of elimination, detectives discovered a friend with whom Garay had partied the night before,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division.  “It seems Sanchez may have suffered a personal affront by Garay, that led Sanchez to kill.”

Garay and Sanchez had known each other for at least 2 years.  Garay lived in Burbank, where the two had hung out the night before the murder, and Sanchez lived in Lincoln Heights with a girlfriend.

Detectives developed enough leads to get arrest warrants for Sanchez and his girlfriend, who was also detained this morning, but later released.

Undercover officers conducted several days of surveillance on the couple, which helped detectives verify their hunches and establish the couple’s daily patterns.  Detectives detained them separately after each left their apartment for work.  Detectives later served a search warrant on the apartment and collected evidence.  The gun used in the shooting has not been found.

“Interestingly, Sanchez has a short criminal history with so-called non-violent crimes,” Lt. Vernon added.  “This jump to murder is another example that there is no such thing as a non-violent criminal.  For criminals, the potential for violence is always present.”

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Ryan Verna, Mission Homicide Unit, at
(818) 838-9976.  Anonymous tips can be called into Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.

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