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Homeless man arrested in fatal shooting of 17-year-old in Whittier

March 27, 2012 |  1:12 pm

A 19-year-old homeless man has been arrested in the shooting death of a 17-year-old boy outside a Whittier continuation school, authorities said.

Eudiel Lopez was arrested about 5:45 p.m. in Whittier on suspicion of killing Michael Soto, sheriff’s officials said. He was found about six hours after the shooting just down the street from where it took place, authorities said.

Deputies also found a handgun that they believe might be the murder weapon. Lopez is homeless but has ties to the Whittier area, authorities said.

Los Angeles County court records show that Lopez was arrested earlier this year for possession of methamphetamines. He got out of jail March 18, eight days before the shooting.

The shooting occurred Monday afternoon in the 9100 block of Painter Avenue. Paramedics took the victim to Whittier Presbyterian Hospital in serious condition, and he was later pronounced dead.

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department sergeant said early radio calls reported that the boy had been shot in the head. Sgt. Greg Arnold said a group of suspects ran in different directions after the shooting.

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-- Paloma Esquivel

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