SAN DIEGO (CBSLA.com) — Police in San Diego on Saturday announced that they have arrested a 29-year-old man in connection with three murders that rocked San Diego on Christmas Eve.
One of the victims was found dead in January in a car trunk parked outside a fast food restaurant in Riverside.
Authorities said Carlo Gallopa Mercado was booked by San Diego police at 7:24 a.m. Saturday for three counts of first degree murder, San Diego police Lt. Mike Hastings said.
Mercado was arrested Friday night at about 10:30 p.m. in the 8700 block of Westmore Road.
The suspect is accused of killing Ilona Flint and Salvatore Belvedere, both 22, outside the Macy’s Department Store in Mission Valley Dec. 24.
Salvatore’s brother and Flint’s fiance, 24-year-old Gianni Belvedere, went missing over Christmas. It was Belverdere’s decomposing body that was found inside the trunk of a parked green Toyota Camry on Jan. 17 following reports of a foul smell coming from the vehicle.
An autopsy later determined his death was caused by gunshot wounds to the head, the same cause of death that befell his younger brother and his fiancee.
The slain brothers’ family held a brief news conference in Lakeside outside of the family’s restaurant Saturday to express gratitude about the arrest.
“We’re relieved and at the same time trying to process this new information,” said a woman who identified herself as the sister of the Belvedere brothers. “We don’t have any information yet about motive. But there is a sense of relief that someone has been caught.”
About 1:15 a.m. Dec. 24, Flint made a 911 call to say she had been shot at Westfield Mission Valley — open late for last-minute holiday shoppers. She died at the scene. Her fiance’s brother succumbed to his wounds at a hospital two days later.