H-SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY

May 18, 2012 9:15 PM by Nikki Ibarra

Arrest made in November shooting death of Oceano teen

A 21 year-old Santa Maria man is under arrest Friday, accused in a drive-by shooting that killed one teenager and injured another in Oceano.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department arrested Armando Yepez after stopping him on Highway 101 in Nipomo.

17 year-old Gabriel Salgado was fatally shot in the head in the November incident. He was a senior at Lopez Continuation High School in Arroyo Grande.

Investigators told KSBY they had no other choice but to arrest Yepez on the highway. They said Yepez was trying to flee Santa Maria.

After hearing the news of the arrest, one by one, the family of Gabriel Salgado hugged and thanked the investigators. "If it wasn't for them, these guys would still be out there doing whatever they're doing. I mean they could have hurt another, another person, and then another family would be here so they stuck to it, and we really appreciate that," said Terry Lopez, great-aunt of Gabriel Salgado.

They wore sweatshirts and t-shirts with his picture on it. Gabriel was set to graduate high school on June 6th. His family said the school will be honoring him at the graduation ceremony.

"He was a great kid. Even when he was little, he was a really good kid. Too early for him to go but he was a really nice guy," said Lopez.

Armando Yepez was booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail with a $1,000,000 bond. He has been charged with homicide, commission of a crime for the benefit of a criminal street gang, and participation in a criminal street gang.

"I didn't know what he looked like. But I thought he was like, in my mind, I seen a monster. And it did fit that picture. He is a monster," added Lopez.

Sheriff Ian Parkinson said in a gang related case, witnesses are a little hesitant to come forward even when they're friends with the victims. He said Gabriel was not in a gang. But investigators said the suspect is, and so that's why they're calling it gang related.

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