Suspect pleads not guilty in Christmas Eve shooting in Vista

Posted at 5:21 PM, Dec 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-29 20:48:28-05

VISTA, Calif. - A man accused of fatally shooting an acquaintance in Vista on Christmas Eve pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge and was ordered held on $2 million bail.

Kevin Phan, 22, was arrested Dec. 27 at a home near Buena Vista Park in connection with the death of Fallbrook resident Tyler Branon, also 22.

Phan allegedly shot the victim in the 1300 block of Morning Glory Lane about 8 p.m. on Dec. 24. Deputies responding to reports of gunfire found the victim in a parked car in the neighborhood near South Santa Fe Avenue and state Route 78. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Detectives are still investigating the motive for the shooting but can confirm that ... the victim and suspect were acquaintances," said sheriff's Lt. Dan Brislin.

Phan faces 35 years to life in prison if convicted of murder and personal use of a firearm.

He will be back in court Jan. 10 for a readiness conference and Jan. 12 for a preliminary hearing.