Tony Shin

Man Arrested After Tow Truck Driver Shot, Killed in Riverside

The tow truck driver worked for Liberty Towing, according to a coworker.

A tow truck driver was shot and killed on Monday afternoon while towing a vehicle in Riverside, police said.

Witnesses told NBCLA that Jesse Martinez, a 27-year-old father of three, was just doing his job when the interaction with a customer turned tense. 

Martinez's family set up a GoFundMe. If you would like to donate to the GoFundMe, you may do so here. Please note that GoFundMe takes a percentage of all funds raised in the from of platform and other fees.

Neighbors told police that they heard two men arguing and then heard multiple gunshots at around 1 p.m. near the intersection of Magnolia and Bandini avenues. Police searched for the shooter with K-9s before finding and arresting a man two blocks away, on Maplewood Avenue.

"It sounds like the suspect was having his own vehicle towed for whatever reason, and there came some type of altercation that turned into a physical fight where the suspect produced a firearm and shot and killed the victim, the tow truck driver," Officer Ryan Railsback of the Riverside Police Department said.

Neighbors saw a man running down Bandini Avenue after the gunshots, and they also saw a man lying near the tow truck.

Police identified the suspected shooter as Javier Martinez, 32, of Landers. He was booked for murder and being held without bail. 

Police used K-9s and metal detectors to searchthe neighborhood for a gun that the suspected shooter may have hidden or tossed away, along with some of his clothing, investigators said. 

During the search, two nearby schools, Magnolia Elementary and Central Middle School were placed on lockdown.

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