Man Arrested in South Gate Crash Bought Aerosol Cans

Grief Counselors prepare for sad days ahead.

An arrest has been made in the death of an 8th grader, police said Tuesday.

The victim, 14-year-old Luis Salazar, was killed after a van careened into a bus stop near South Gate Middle School on Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday, police announced the arrest of 18-year-old Eduardo Rojo of South Gate. Rojo claims the brakes on the van he was driving failed, causing it to crash into a bus stop while he was trying to turn into a nearby parking lot.

Police say surveillance video captured Rojo and a friend buying aerosol cans, possibly to get  intoxicated, before the accident. Police said cans were found in the car.

The young man with Rojo ran off and has not been located, investigators said. He is being sought by police, not as a suspect, but to question him about what happened in the van prior to the crash.

The collision occurred at 3:28 p.m. at Otis Street and East Firestone Boulevard, said Inspector Frank Garrido of the county fire department.

South Gate Middle School Principal German Cerda said grief counselors were called in to help students dealing with the loss.

"This will last a long time," he said. "If some students don't feel the grief today, they will tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day. This isn't over."

Family of Luis Salazar said that for a kid his age, it was nice to see his focus on God and his community. They say he played the bass guitar at the family's church. They also say he was on the phone with his mother when the accident happened.

A family spokesperson said Luis is the second of five children. A fund has been set up to help defray the cost of his funeral. Donations can be made payable to the South Gate Police Officers Association, c/o Luis Salazar, 8620 California Avenue, South Gate, CA 90280.

A candlelight vigil in Luis' honor was held Tuesday night at the South Gate Church of Christ located at 9618 Alexander Avenue in South Gate.

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