Two teenagers have been arrested in connection with a series of attacks in which they allegedly used a skateboard to strike their victims, including one man who suffered a fatal blow.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said Javier Garcia, 18, as well as an unidentified 17-year-old boy, were taken into custody for their suspected roles in the deadly assault of Daniel Sparks, 61.
Lt. Glenn Giannantonio says the teenagers allegedly assaulted Sparks on two separate occasions, first on Jan. 14, just before 7 p.m., in Spring Valley. In that incident, Sparks was found lying in the intersection of Gillespie Drive and Frederick Street, bleeding from injuries to the head.
He was taken to a hospital, treated and released.
However, three days later, homicide detectives say Sparks was attacked again. This time, he was found unconscious in the 900-block of Jamacha Road. He was transported to a local hospital but died on Jan. 22, Lt. Giannantonio confirmed.
His cause of death has not yet been determined.
Detectives say their investigation into Sparks’ deadly attack led to the discovery of two more assaults in the area involving three victims. In those cases, the victims were struck in the head or side with a skateboard after they refused to hand over their property to the suspects.
Garcia and the 17-year-old boy were linked to the attacks and arrested.
Garcia was booked into San Diego Central Jail on multiple charges, including assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury and attempted robbery. Both he and the minor are scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.
Lt. Giannantonio said that if Sparks' cause of death winds up being directly tied to the attack at the hands of the teens, the young suspects could face additional charges, including manslaughter or murder.
In the meantime, homicide detectives believe there may be additional victims or witnesses of these attacks. Lt. Giannantonio says each crime appears to be motivated by robbery. Officials are also trying to determine whether the crimes are gang-related.
Officials say anyone who was assaulted in an attempted robbery in the 800-block of Gillespie Drive, 500-block of Sweetwater Road, 9000-block of Jamacha Road or surrounding streets should contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Division at (858) 974-2321 or the after-hours line at (858) 565-5200. Witnesses of these assaults should also come forward and contact authorities.
"It is a relatively densely populated area, so we're hoping someone may have seen something -- whether they actually saw the assauly or potentially something leading up to an assault," said Lt. Giannantonio. "Any information we can get would be appreciated."