Fourth Suspect Sought in Deputy's Aug. 2 Slaying

An arrest warrant was issued for a fourth suspect in the slaying of Los Angeles County sheriff's Deputy Juan Escalante, who was killed in front of his parents' home last summer, authorities said Wednesday.

The 27-year-old deputy was gunned down in front of the Cypress Park home on Aug. 2 as he was preparing to go to work in the Men's Central Jail.

Two people -- including the alleged shooter -- were arrested in connection with the case in December and charged with capital murder. In the past week, two other people were charged.

Jose Renteria, who was 17 at the time and is now 18, was charged last Wednesday with murder and pleaded not guilty on Monday.

The fourth person, who is still being sought, is listed in the criminal complaint as Armando Albarran, 26. He is also charged with murder.

Los Angeles Police Department Chief William Bratton and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca scheduled an afternoon news conference to discuss the case.

Carlos Javier Velasquez, now 25, and Guillermo Hernandez, now 21, were arrested Dec. 12, and pleaded not guilty Jan. 2. The criminal complaint alleges that Velasquez "personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, a handgun, which caused great bodily injury and death" to Escalante.

The murder charge includes the allegation that the murder was carried out to further the activities of a criminal street gang.

Prosecutors have not yet decided if they will seek the death penalty against Velasquez, Hernandez and Albarran. Renteria cannot face a death sentence because he was a minor at the time, and he faces a maximum life prison term without the possibility of parole if convicted.

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