SANTA MONICA—Authorities from the Santa Monica Police Department have arrested a suspect in connection to teenage Juan Sebastian Castillo. According to a press release Canyon News received from Lt. Saul Rodriguez from the SMPD, on Friday, May 19, officers arrested Sherwin Mendoza Espinosa, 42, of Los Angeles in connection to Castillo’s death. Castillo was fatally shot on February 26. The incident transpired at 5:08 a.m., when the SMPD responded to the 1300 block of 16th Street, where they found the teen unconscious, suffering from a single gunshot wound to the head.
Santa Monica Fire Department Paramedics arrived on the scene and pronounced the victim deceased. Through extensive and thorough investigative efforts, detectives have been able to link Juan Castillo’s death to a shooting that occurred earlier that morning at about 12:45 a.m. in the 2100 block of Pico Blvd and the identification of a possible suspect.
The SMPD held a press conference on May 19 at 1 p.m. to discuss details about the case to the public. The conference was held at Virginia Avenue Park, 2200 Virginia Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404. It took place near the Thelma Terry Center building on the northwest side of the park.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office- Airport Division Courthouse filed charges against Espinosa in connection with the murder. Espinosa has been charged with 187(a) PC – Murder; and 25850(a) PC –Felon in Possession of a Firearm. He is currently being held in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office on a $3 million bail.
“At this time in the investigation detectives are not providing a motive to this shooting. Based on the information that we have, there is no indication there was a relationship between Castillo or Espinosa, however that can change as the investigation continues,” said Sgt. Rudy Flores of the SMPD in an email to Canyon News.
The investigation is ongoing and detectives are interested in speaking with anyone with specific information related to this investigation. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Cooper (310) 458-8478; Detective Leone (310) 458-8949; or the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8491.