Police arrest 1 in murder of teen in Selma

What began as a party with invited guests ended in a cold-blooded murder.

A Parlier teen was gunned down leaving a party two years ago and now investigators say they have a solid case against the suspect.

The murder of the 16-year-old stunned neighbors in the Selma neighborhood off Thompson and Dinuba.

The suspect's nickname is Chepo, and Selma detectives say he is a gang member with no boundaries. It was two years ago when investigators say he opened fire on a residential street. A 16-year-old was killed and a 19-year-old was shot but survived.

The wrong kind of lights lit up a house at Sarah Circle in Selma after violence sent partiers scrambling and police rushing to the scene with sirens blaring.

Police wasted no time in tracking down the dozens of people invited and uninvited, who came to the house.

A single name stood out - Pete "Chepo" Garcia - after witnesses said he was the one who pulled out a gun and used it.

"Although we had someone identified early in the investigation, it took us nearly 24 months to gather enough information, to corroborate enough statements, to gather enough evidence to allow the District Attorney to file charges with the idea of successfully prosecuting the case," Selma Police Chief Greg Garner.

When Garcia was initially arrested for the crime, he was 21 years old. At the time, prosecutors wanted more evidence, so he was released. But officers say he didn't stay out of jail long. In fact, he was already in custody earlier this month for being a felon or narcotics user in possession of a gun when homicide charges were added.

Selma Police Chief Greg Garner said the victim, 16-year-old Robert Hernandez, was a student at Parlier High School. He also worked as a farm laborer during the summer and weekends.

Garner said the confrontation between the two was short but quickly escalated.

The victims had got into a car on the other side of the street when the suspect opened fire.

The victim was struck in the stomach as he was getting into the car and died at the scene.

Another victim was shot in the back but survived.

Garcia is set to be arraigned on homicide charges next week.
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