A suspected gang member has been charged with murder in connection with the slaying last month of a Dos Palos teenager, the Merced County District Attorney’s Office confirmed Tuesday.
Prosecutors charged Sysco L. Lopez, 20, with murder, attempted murder and criminal street gang participation, the prosecutor’s office confirmed.
Lopez, of Dos Palos, was arrested Thursday in connection with the Feb. 15 slaying of 17-year-old Luis David Leon, whose body was found in a parking lot near Leonard Avenue and Palo Alto Street in Dos Palos, the Police Department reported.
Police Chief Barry Mann said another man was with Leon when he was killed and that police believe Lopez tried to kill the other man as well. Mann declined to release the second man’s name, citing a need to protect the investigation. The second man was not injured.
Police have not commented on any possible motives in the case but have said both Lopez and Leon were known to have gang ties in the city.
Lopez was scheduled to make his first appearance Tuesday in Merced County Superior Court, but details of that hearing were not available.
Leon’s death was the first homicide in Dos Palos since June 2013.
Lopez is also a defendant in a 2013 assault case believed to have been gang-related. He has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of inflicting corporal injury to a teenager and battery causing serious injury. He and others are accused of attacking a 16-year-old girl in a parking lot near Highway 33.
He is due back in court on that case April 8, according to court records.
The case remains under investigation, and police have not ruled out the possibility of seeking criminal charges against others.