Three suspected gang members were charged Tuesday in the shooting death of a 19-year-old Marine who was found dead in his car while on leave.
Lance Cpl. Carlos Segovia, remembered by his colleagues as an unselfish "true warrior," was shot Sept. 16 in Los Angeles' Jefferson Park area while on leave from Camp Pendleton. He died three days later at a hospital.
Oscar Aguilar, 26, and Esau Rios, 28, were each charged with one count of murder. Aguilar also faces one count each of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and dissuading a witness by force or threat.
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He used the firearm in the slaying, according to prosecutors.
Ricky Valente, 18, was charged with a count of accessory after the fact, having knowledge of the murder, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
The suspects are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon.
Investigators had little to go on in the days after the shooting, except for a cellphone call that provided a look into Segovia's final moments. He had just left the home of his girlfriend's family and was having a cellphone conversation when it appeared he became aware of something suspicious, investigators said. The line then went silent, according to Capt. Peter Whittingham, commander of the LAPD Criminal Gang Homicide section.
A vehicle pulled up beside the Marine's car, and at least one person opened fire, striking him once in the head, police said. He was found slumped over the car's steering wheel.
A $50,000 reward was announced for information in the case and Segovia's mother issued heart-wrenching pleas for help. Details about what led to the arrests were not immediately available.
The young Marine was honored during a funeral mass at Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles, where rows of uniformed service members filled rows to hear about their colleague's legacy of helping others. The service included eulogies by Lopez's mother, friends, relatives and Lt. Col. Cory Quinn.
"To join the Marines at a time of war, to join as an infantryman, is an extraordinary emotional and intellectual decision," said Lt. Colonel Quinn. "You can see how important it was to him. You learn what it is to defend, what it is to stick up for others. And, that's why he joined."
Segovia worked with the homeless through the LA on Cloud 9 organization. After graduating from Foshay Learning Center last year, he enlisted in the Marine Corps, but during leave time continued to volunteer.
He was born in El Salvador and came to the U.S. with his mother.