The 21-year-old suspect in the shooting death of a San Diego sailor who pulled over to help a stranded motorist is behind bars without bond facing felony charges.
Brandon Javier Acuna is slated to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. on Halloween at San Diego Superior Court on charges of 1st degree murder and 2nd degree burglary, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Detectives accuse him of gunning down Steelworker Constructionman Curtis Fitzherbert Adams, 21, the sailor who pulled over to help a person he thought was a stranded motorist near the intersection of Interstates 15 and 5 in the Logan Heights section of San Diego at around 2:22 a.m. Saturday.
Adams' girlfriend called emergency dispatchers to say that he had been shot. When police and paramedics arrived on the scene, they found the Seabee with a gunshot wound to his upper body.
They rushed Adams to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
In a written statement emailed to Navy Times, Lt. Anthony Dupree said that it appeared Adams was shot the moment he exited his vehicle to help.
After interviewing his girlfriend, authorities began searching for a suspect described as a Hispanic man, wearing dark clothing and driving a white vehicle that had been seen fleeing south from the scene.
The California Highway Patrol soon notified emergency dispatchers that they had found a vehicle matching that description abandoned in the northbound lane of Interstate 5 near 32nd Street. San Diego Police officers then detained Acuna, who was walking near there.
Dupree said that Acuna is suspected of being tied to a separate incident near Boundary Street in the Mount Hope neighborhood that happened about 10 minutes before Adams was shot.
In that case, an unnamed man allegedly interrupted a person breaking into his vehicle. Before fleeing, the suspect allegedly shot at him but he wasn’t hit.
Originally from New York, Adams enlisted in the Navy on March 15, 2016. He reported to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1 in San Diego on Sept. 30, 2016, according to his military records.
Prine came to Navy Times after stints at the San Diego Union-Tribune and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors and the Combat Infantryman Badge.