A Santa Monica man who is allegedly an admitted gang member has been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Gardena resident Byron Lopez in Santa Monica in late June, police said.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed murder charges October 30th against Jason Hurtado, 26, in the death of the 28-year-old Lopez, Santa Monica police said.

Lopez was shot while he was walking in the 2000 block of Court 19 in the Pico Neighborhood of Santa Monica June 28th, police said. Lopez’s friends drove him to the hospital, where he later died of his injuries.

Since Hurtado’s arrest July 2nd, Santa Monica police detectives have worked with the community to gather evidence on Hurtado’s alleged involvement in the murder of Lopez, Sgt. Renaldi Thruston said.

“Community members were instrumental in identifying Hurtado as a suspect and clarifying the facts of this case,” he said.

Hurtado was allegedly in possession of a firearm when he was located by undercover Santa Monica police officers in the Pico Neighborhood July 2nd. An undercover officer contacted Hurtado, who pointed the firearm at him, Thruston said.

After the undercover officer identified himself as a police officer, Hurtado dropped the firearm and fled on foot, but he was quickly arrested by officers, who recovered the firearm, Thruston said. Hurtado has been in custody since then.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8451, or the watch commander at (310) 458-8427. Callers who wish to remain anonymous may call the We Tip hotline at (800) 782-7463 (800-78-CRIME).

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