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Teen suspects in shooting death of 14-year-old boy in Mount Hope due in court

Posted at 7:01 AM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 10:01:47-05

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Four teens accused in the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old boy in the Mount Hope neighborhood are scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

Bryan Escobedo, 18, Ethan Peaslee-Guerrero, 19, and Omar Morales, 18, were arrested along with a 17-year-old boy, whose name was not released because of his age, in connection with Monday's deadly shooting.

The suspects were arrested about an hour after the killing, which happened around 4:15 p.m. near the intersection of 36th and J streets. The victim, who was shot at least one time, died at a hospital, according to San Diego police.

Officials have not released his name, but family members have identified him to numerous media outlets as Erick Balanzar.

No suspected motive for the shooting has been disclosed.

All four suspects were booked into custody on suspicion of murder. The three adult suspects are expected to be arraigned Thursday afternoon at the downtown San Diego courthouse, while the underage defendant is due for arraignment Thursday morning in San Diego juvenile court.

According to police, the victim was walking with a group of people on 36th Street near J Street when at least one gunshot was fired from a silver SUV.

"The vehicle sped away but the plate was reported to police," SDPD Lt. Jud Campbell said.

Campbell said the license plate was traced to a Toyota Highlander that was spotted earlier Monday at a fight attended by a large crowd at 1155 C Street.

At around 3:35 p.m., San Diego Unified school police requested SDPD assistance in responding to the incident, at which point, "some of the members of the crowd left in the silver Toyota Highlander," Campbell said.

At 5:07 p.m., the vehicle was located at 4600 Utah St., with Escobedo, Peaslee-Guerrero, Morales and the 17-year-old near the vehicle, according to the lieutenant.

When officers approached, two of the suspects ran and two were detained, Campbell said, with the runners eventually located in a nearby apartment and taken into custody.