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EXCLUSIVE: Suspect In Texting Murder Has Message For Victim’s Family

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VAN NUYS (CBS) — Police have arrested a man Thursday who’s suspected of fatally shooting a teenager for writing an insulting text message about a woman.

Zareh Manjikian showed up at the courthouse in Van Nuys on Thursday afternoon, where he was arrested by federal authorities. He’s accused of killing 19-year-old Mike  Yepremyan after the victim insulted Manjikian’s friend in a text message.

Before turning himself in, Manjikian spoke to KCAL 9’s Randy Paige, where he said, “I’m here, I was not on the run.”

“I’m surrendering. I’ve wanted to surrender since day one,” said the suspect, who was accompanied by his attorney.

Paige asked Manjikian what he would want to say to Yepremyan’s family.

“I’m sorry for their loss and my heart goes out to them.”

Manjikian said he wanted to go on camera to address the accusations.

“I want people to know that I’m innocent. I want to straighten this once and for all,” Manjikian said.

Yepremyan had written a text message to his girlfriend where he called her friend, Kat Vardanian, a vulgar slang. Vardanian then contacted her family and friends, allegedly calling them to take action.

Authorities say Manjikian allegedly responded to her request and got Yepremyan to meet him in a business parking lot. Police say that’s where Manjikian fatally shot Yepremyan in the back of the head in Nov. 2009.

Several months ago, Manjikian was tracked down to a beach town in Puerto Rico and arrested but a judge there released him on $50,000 bond, despite a no-bail arrest warrant from authorities in Los Angeles.

Manjikian will be arraigned Friday or Monday.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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