Suspect arrested in killing of LA pizza deliveryman

An 18-year-old man who was already behind bars on a gun charge was scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow on charges stemming from an apparent road-rage shooting that killed a 20-year-old pizza deliveryman in Silver Lake.

Jose Beltran, who lives with his mother roughly a half-mile from the scene of the Aug. 7 shooting, was charged Monday with one count each of murder and shooting at an occupied vehicle in connection with the death of Juan David Vasquez Loma, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Beltran was arrested Aug. 19 on suspicion of driving with a loaded firearm after officers pulled him over for a traffic violation and found a weapon in the vehicle, Detective Jose Carrillo said.

"The officers stopped him for a traffic violation,'' Carrillo said at a news conference announcing the arrest. "He didn't have a driver's license. As they (police) were conducting the impound of his vehicle, they recovered a weapon under the driver's seat. That's why we're here today.''

After Beltran was arrested, detectives realized he matched the description of the suspect in the Loma shooting.

"He was, in my opinion, potentially very dangerous,'' Carrillo said. "He shot at one person. What's to keep him from shooting at somebody else?''

Beltran remains jailed in lieu of more than $1 million bail.

Loma was shot in the head by a person in another vehicle in the 1400 block of Silver Lake Boulevard shortly after 5 a.m. Aug. 7 in what police described as an apparent road rage attack. He was driving co-workers home after work when he was shot, police said.

He was taken to a hospital, where he was declared brain dead and placed on life-support to give his mother, Maria Vasquez, time to arrive from Mexico to say goodbye, according to police. He was removed from life support on Aug. 14.

Carrillo said a woman was in the car with Beltran at the time of the shooting, but she was considered a witness, not a suspect.

A $50,000 reward had been offered by the city for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

City Council President Eric Garcetti said he hoped the arrest would bring some closure to Loma's mother.

"We know nothing can bring your son back,'' he said. "Nothing can completely take care of the sadness and the loss that you feel, but today we can give you some resolution because of the extraordinary work and the coming together of a community and a police department as one.''

Anyone with further information about the case is asked to contact Carrillo or Lt. Burcher at (213) 847-4261 or call (877) LAPD-24-7. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call (800) 222-TIPS (8477).

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