42-Year-Old Man Arrested in Fatal Shooting of Santa Monica Teen: Police

Police announced Friday that they have made an arrest in the February fatal shooting of a Santa Monica teenager.

“Detectives tireless efforts led them to a suspect, and that suspect has been identified as Sherwin M. Espinosa, a 42-year-old male who resides in Los Angeles,” Santa Monica Police Chief Jaqueline Seabrooks said at a Friday afternoon news conference.

Juan Castillo is seen in an undated photo from a GoFundMe page.

Espinosa is accused of shooting 18-year-old Juan Sebastian Castillo, who was found dead steps away from the emergency room of Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center around 5:10 a.m. Feb. 26, according to the Santa Monica Police Department.

He was found with a head injury, and authorities later determined Castillo had been the victim of a shooting. Investigators believe he was shot once in the head about six hours earlier while sitting in the passenger side of a vehicle that was parked in the 2100 block of Pico Boulevard.

His lifeless body was then dumped outside the hospital, located in the 1300 block of 16th Street.

Espinosa, who was arrested on May 17 in Baldwin Hills, faces charges of murder and illegal possession of a firearm.

“Although Espinosa is currently being held on $3 million bail at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Men’s Central Jail, the Police Department’s investigation is still continuing,” Seabrooks said.

Investigators say there doesn’t appear to have been a connection between the suspect and the victim.

 

“The evidence and information we have does not indicate that they knew each other,” a police official said at the news conference.

A motive for the shooting remains under investigation.

Castillo had graduated the previous summer from Santa Monica High School, where he played for the Vikings football team.

The day after the shooting, his father told KTLA Castillo wanted to join the Marines.

“He was a great kid, he was ready to serve the country,” Jorge Castillo said.

Juan Castillo was described as a loving son, brother, friend and nephew, who was also a great athlete, according to a GoFundMe page set up calling for justice for the slain teen.

The fundraising page reached its goal and is no longer active.

Santa Monica police have urged anyone with info about the case to call Detective D. Larios at 310-458-8937, Detective B. Cooper at 310-458-8478, or the department at 310-458-8491.