Gang retaliation? Deputies aren't ruling it out

VISTA - Investigators are trying to determine if the slaying of a man at his transmission repair shop over the weekend was linked to a year-old gang double murder for which his son is facing trial.

Ruben Bodden, 59, went to work at SBAJ Transmissions & Auto Repair on Saturday but never made it home. Deputies said his wife went to the shop, located in the 1200 block of North Santa Fe Avenue, to check on him and found him dead.

Deputies said the man's body had what they described as traumatic injuries. Nearby workers said they never heard a thing - no screaming, no gunshots or any other type of noises that would indicate trouble.

Friends, family members, employees and customers who were dropping off candles outside the auto shop said Bodden was a great guy with a son who got into a lot of trouble. And that is where the link to the high-profile murder case comes in.

The victim's son, 19-year-old Brian Bodden, is in jail and is being held on $5.25 million bail. His next scheduled court appearance is on April 7 for a pre-trial hearing.

Brian Bodden is one of five suspects in the murder of two teenagers - 15-year-old Edgar Sanchez Rios and 13-year-old Melanie Virgen - who were gunned down at Libby Lake in March, 2013.

Four other suspects -- Kevin Brizuela, 17, Santo Diaz, 19, Martin Melendrez, 21, and Michael Zurita, 19 -- also were arrested within weeks of the killings. A prosecutor alleged during their arraignments that they were all
members of the same gang and carried out the retaliatory shooting in territory claimed by rivals.

Deputies said they are not ruling out the possibility that Ruben Bodden was also the victim of a gang retaliation. Nearby workers and residents told 10News they believe drugs were being sold to kids out of the shop.

Anyone with information that can help investigators is asked to call the sheriff's department at (858) 974-2321 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. All tips can be made anonymously.

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