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2 Men Arrested, Charged in Gang-Related Slaying at Highland Park Homeless Encampment: LAPD

Two men have been arrested and charged following an incident earlier this year at a Highland Park homeless encampment that left one man dead and another one wounded, police said Tuesday.

Andrew Palacios, 19, and 31-year-old Jimmy Alfred Perez are both being charged with murder and attempted murder in the case, Los Angeles Police Capt. Alfred Labrada said in a press conference Tuesday. The L.A. County District Attorney's Office had not confirmed the charges.

The sister of a shooting victim speaks at a press conference in Highland Park on March 27, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

The sister of a shooting victim speaks at a press conference in Highland Park on March 27, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

The charges stem from a Jan. 21 shooting at an encampment near Arroyo Seco Parkway and Avenue 52 that killed Daniel Duarte, 31, and left another 34-year-old man who lived there with several gunshot wounds, police said.

Officers were called to the area around 4:40 a.m. that morning regarding shots fired along the riverbed and found the injured victim. The man led them to Duarte, who was in his tent suffering from multiple gunshot wounds as well, according to Labrada.

Ambulances responded to treat the men, but Duarte died from his injuries at the scene.

Duarte's younger sister, Kimberly, spoke at Tuesday's press conference and applauded the arrests, saying she would now be able to "rest at night," though it doesn't repair her loss.

"He was such a go-getter and a free spirit. He didn’t like rules," she said of her brother. "He was artistic and intelligent, and that was all wasted because he was murdered."

Duarte's girlfriend has their 2-year-old daughter were also in attendance Tuesday.

Detectives were immediately able to gain many investigative tips from the community, Labrada said, that led to the arrest of Palacios on Feb. 2 at his home in northeast L.A.

Perez was arrested following an LAPD surveillance operation on March 15, also near his northeast L.A. residence.

Much of the evidence used in the shooting has been recovered, Labrada said, though he would not specify what the items consisted of. Labrada also said "multiple counts" of murder and attempted murder had been filed against both Palacios and Perez by L.A. County DA's officials.

Authorities believe some type of dispute may have preceded the gunfire but also said both Perez and Palacios are suspected gang members.

Detective Jorge Alfaro, who is investigating the case, described the incident as "gang-motivated" and said Duarte's life was taken "strictly only for the gang."

Alfaro also said Duarte and the other man were not targeted but shot at random. However, he declined to say whether both Palacios and Perez had fired weapons.

Palacios is being held on $5 million bail, while Perez's bond was set at $5.2 million, inmate records show. Both are expected to appear in court on Thursday.

Anyone with additional information can contact LAPD detectives with the Hollenbeck division at 323-342-8901.