SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Prosecutors say a 21-year-old gang member is charged with the murder of a 79-year-old janitor last week in the parking lot of an office complex in Bay Ho.
Francisco Xavier Villegas pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, assault and robbery during his arraignment Monday at San Diego County Court.
The prosecutor told the judge Villegas' car had broken down. He was afraid to come in contact with the police because he was allegedly armed and on felony probation for a robbery last year.
The prosecutor said Villegas ran into a citizen and told that person he was going to use his gun to get a car. The citizen tried to talk him out of it.
Jose Quirin had just pulled into the parking lot of the office building in the 4400 block of Morena Boulevard, where he worked as a janitor.
Investigators said Villegas knocked on his window and when Quirin refused to give up his SUV, he shot him in the chest. Quirin managed to drive to a nearby Mcdonald's for help but died shortly after.
People who work at the building are still stunned.
"We all really loved him here. And he was so much more than just our janitor," Bree Laufer said. "He was so kind and did so much for us and his community down in Mexico."
Laufer said Quirin worked hard to provide for his family in Rosarito.
"He was the breadwinner of his family, and we all adored him for his hard work, and yeah he was just trying to avoid traffic by coming in early," Laufer said. "It’s just horrible that something like this can happen here in Bay Park of all places."
According to the prosecutor, after the shooting Villegas hopped on a trolley where he was captured on MTS security video. Police arrested him at his family's home in San Ysidro the following day on a probation violation. Once he was in jail, he was charged with Quirin's murder.
Villegas' preliminary hearing is set for May 20.