Accused Lindbergh Park shooter in court Tuesday
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A preliminary hearing was held Tuesday for a young man charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old girl in a Clairemont park this summer.
Luis Francisco Barron, 19, allegedly threatened a man in the Mid-City area of San Diego after midnight on Aug. 27 before heading to his home, seeing a group of people in nearby Lindbergh Park and opening fire with a shotgun, killing Joanna Vargas, Deputy District Attorney Jill DiCarlo said at Barron's arraignment earlier this month.
It is not known why Barron allegedly fired at the group in the park that included the Madison High School junior, her cousin and two young men.
The shotgun blast “strikes her right in the back,” DiCarlo said. “The defendant takes off from the scene, gets rid of the weapon and goes to Mexico.”
She said that at some point, Barron came back to the United States and married his girlfriend, Nina Ikonen, in Las Vegas and went with her to Sacramento County.
Barron was arrested by Mexican authorities in Tijuana and brought back to the United States on Oct. 9. The prosecutor did not reveal details about what led investigators to the defendant, but numerous pleas were put out for witnesses to come forward after the shooting.
Before the shooting, Barron was with Ikonen and some male friends on Van Dyke Avenue when he confronted a man, DiCarlo said.
The prosecutor said the defendant issued a gang challenge, told the man he didn't like how he was looking at him and threatened to shoot him with a shotgun. Barron is not a documented gang member, she said.
The man was able to talk his way out of the confrontation and reported the incident to police, DiCarlo said.
The defendant, who has a prior grand theft conviction, faces 50 years to life in prison if found guilty of murder and an allegation that he fired a shotgun.
Detectives are still investigating the alleged role of Ikonen, who was last known to have taken a flight to Germany, DiCarlo said.
She might face charges at a later time, and other charges could be filed against Barron, the prosecutor said.
At the end of today's preliminary hearing, a judge will decide if enough evidence was presented for Barron to stand trial on the murder charge.