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Fifth person connected to Mt. Hope deadly shooting appears in court

Posted at 12:06 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 15:06:52-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A 17-year-old pled not guilty to a murder charge during a virtual hearing Monday morning through his attorney.

Prosecutors believe he was the person who shot and killed 14-year-old Erick Balanzar Loeza. Police say Erick was with a group of people when an SUV full of young men opened fire, hitting him.

Five young men between the ages of 17 and 19 have been arrested in connection with the violent shooting in Mt. Hope.

The three adults were arraigned in court last week and have pled not guilty to murder charges with a gun and gang allegations. A second teen was also arraigned the previous week.

During Monday's hearing, the mother of the defendant and the father of the victim were listening in.

At one point, the Judge even addressed the victim's family.

"Regarding the family of the deceased who is present by phone for this court preceding today, the court is sorry for your loss and appreciate your presence and your participation in these proceedings."

The teen will stay in Juvenile Hall until his next court appearance on Feb. 17.