VAN NUYS (CBS) — Two men were taken into custody Monday in connection with the weekend shooting death of a 25-year-old man with whom they’d been drinking in a Van Nuys apartment.
The victim was identified as Saul Zacarias, who grew up in Guatemala with William Jimenez, one of two men taken into custody.
Police detained Tito Diaz, 43, and Jimenez, 25, following the outbreak of gunfire at 7:25 p.m. Sunday in an apartment in the 14600 block of Friar Street, one block south of Victory Boulevard, according to Detective Rob Bub of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Van Nuys Station.
Diaz, Jimenez, the victim and several other men were drinking alcohol together, and Diaz and the victim were passing a handgun back and forth, according to police.
Two shots were fired, and the victim was struck once in the head, Bub said, adding that Diaz and Jimenez tried to dispose of the man’s body in a trash bin in the apartment’s parking structure.
The weapon was recovered, Bub said.
Diaz and Jimenez were apprehended near the crime scene. Diaz was booked on suspicion of murder and held on $1 million bail. Jimenez was booked as an accessory to murder, with bail set at $500,000.
Richard Sugges, a neighbor of the men, said “a lot of guys lived there and they drank a lot of booze.”
Sugges said he heard gunshots and then a lot of trampling around. When he went out to look, the door of the apartment was over and there was “red stuff all over the walls.”
Maria Estrada, another neighbor, said police found the two suspects hiding under a car in the garage.
“It’s really scary because I have a 14-year-old boy…now that I know who lives here, it freaks me out,” Estrada said.
Another friend, apparently one of the residents in the apartment where the shooting occurred, Johnny Velasquez, said the shooting “doesn’t make sense.” He noted what others had noted — that there was a lot of drinking going on inside the apartment.
Police remain dubious of the claims that the shooting was an accident because of the two suspect’s efforts to dispose of the body.
The trash was scheduled to be picked up soon.