Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Gustavo Castillo

A 42-year-old San Diego man was arrested on suspicion of murder in the shooting death of a 55-year-old San Diego man, police said Saturday.

Juan Carlos Sanchez was taken into custody Friday in Imperial Beach and booked into San Diego County Jail on one felony count of first-degree murder, according to Lt. Steve Shebloski of the San Diego Police Department. Sanchez was being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

The victim was identified as Jaime Barba, the lieutenant said.

The incident began Wednesday at about 1:35 p.m. when the National City Fire Department responded to a brush fire in the area of 2400 Harbison Avenue in National City.

“Upon arriving, fire department personnel saw what appeared to be a large pile of trash engulfed in flames,” Shebloski said. “As fire department personnel extinguished the flames, they located a deceased male on the ground within the debris.”

Officers and detectives from the NCPD were called to the scene and assumed responsibility for the preliminary investigation.

Over the next several days, NCPD detectives investigated the suspicious death and an autopsy was conducted. It was determined the victim had been shot in his upper body multiple times and it appeared his body was disposed of at the location of the fire, police said.

NCPD investigators contacted the SDPD and a joint investigation was conducted, with the SDPD  Homicide Unit assuming responsibility for the investigation.

Detectives said it appears the victim was killed in a converted building in the 1600 block of Dahlia Avenue in San Diego sometime in the afternoon hours of Oct. 3. Afterward, the suspect transported and disposed of the victim’s body at the location of the fire, police said.

It appears the suspect and victim knew each other and the victim was shot and killed during an argument, police said.

Detectives collected evidence from the scene and asked for the public’s help with the investigation.

Anyone with information regarding the crime was asked to call the Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

–City News Service


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Ellen Bullock