HEMET (CBSLA.com) — Three people have been arrested in connection with the stabbing murder of a 16-year-old Hemet boy.

The Press Enterprise reports Francisco Zavala, 20, was booked on suspicion of murder and taken to the Southwest Detention Center.

His bail was set at $1 million.

The other two suspects — aged 15 and 17 — were taken to Juvenile Hall and booked on murder charges. Their ages were not disclosed because they are minors.

All of the suspects live in East Hemet, said officials.

Authorities on Thursday also discounted previous reports that the killing was over a dispute involving the victim’s cell phone.  Albert Martinez, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit, wrote “At this time, there is no indication of the cell phone being a factor in the stabbing.”

The victim, Eric Ronald Sargeant Jr., was stabbed to death about 4:45 Monday afternoon after being attacked by 3-4 young people near the intersection of Acacia Avenue and Cherrywood Drive.

Sargeant, who had been a sophomore at Hemet High, was pronounced dead five hours after the attack. He died with multiple stab wounds at Riverside County Regional Medical Center.

At least two candlelight vigils were held in the popular teen’s honor since Monday.

The boy’s mother, Melissa Lansing, was able to see her son before he went in for surgery. Says Lansing, ‘I said ‘Mama loves you.’ And he said, ‘I love you, Mama.’ That was it. He went for surgery. Didn’t make it.”

Sargeant’s funeral service is planned for Saturday.


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