NORTH HILLS ( — A San Fernando Valley transient who was assaulted and shot in the head in a dispute over $50 has been declared brain dead, police said Tuesday.

Carlos Sanchez Cruz, 31, was attacked about 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the 9000 block of Tobias Avenue, according to LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon.

“The best we can tell, our victim and a 21-year-old suspect were arguing over a $50 debt or theft when the two started to struggle,” Vernon said.

According to Vernon, witnesses told investigators another person approached the scuffle and shot Cruz point blank in the head.

Cruz, who police said was known in the North Hills neighborhood as a transient, was pronounced brain dead at 3 p.m. Monday at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center.

“It’s sad that a dispute over $50 would lead to a man’s death,” said Vernon. “I hope the family can find some solace in knowing at least we have the persons responsible in custody.”

His family has agreed to have some of his organs harvested for donation to those in need, according to police.

Two local gang members, 21-year-old Robert Chapman of San Fernando, and a 17-year-old suspect whose identity was withheld, were booked on suspicion of attempted murder, Vernon said.

Detectives were expected to pursue murder charges against one or both suspects after conferring with prosecutors, according to Vernon.

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Ryan Verna at (818)838-9976 or submit a tip online at

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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