Police release video of suspected teen California girl’s killer

Long Beach police on Tuesday, April 30, released video of a person they believe shot and killed a teenage girl as she walked home from work last month and again asked for help from the public in identifying the suspect.

Briana Soto, 17, died three days after the attack near 11th Street and Lewis Avenue, Long Beach police Chief Wally Hebeish said. She had just ended a call with her mother when the suspect, believed to be a man, approached and shot her in the upper body.

“Moments after hanging up, she was shot and murdered just steps away from her home,” Hebeish said.

The gunshots, which rang out about 8:30 p.m. on March 26, were heard by the teen’s mother, Hebeish said. When the mom tried calling back, a good Samaritan answered the phone.

Whether that person saw the shooter was not known.

“The mother wasn’t able to communicate because of language issues with the good Samaritan, so she couldn’t understand what was being said, but that is something detectives are interviewing him about,” Hebeish said.

A motive for the shooting was not known.

Long Beach police chief Wally Hebeish speaking at a press conference asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect who shot 17-year-old Briana Soto on March 26 near Cambodia Town. Soto died four days later. Detectives and family members of Soto gathered for the press conference in Long Beach on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Photo by Brittany M. Solo, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

Long Beach police are seeking the public’s help in finding the suspect who shot 17-year-old Briana Soto on March 26 near Cambodia Town. Soto died four days later. Detectives and family members of Soto gathered for a press conference in Long Beach on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Photo by Brittany M. Solo, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

Long Beach police Chief Wally Hebeish watches video during a press conference seeking the public’s help in finding the suspect who shot 17-year-old Briana Soto on March 26 near Cambodia Town. Soto died four days later. Detectives and family members of Soto gathered for the press conference in Long Beach on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Photo by Brittany M. Solo, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

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Officers found Soto in the street in critical condition. Paramedics took her to a hospital, but she died on March 29 from a gunshot to the head, according to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner.

Detectives were working to determine if the attack was random. Hebeish said the suspect was seen on surveillance video walking in the neighborhood about 10 minutes before the attack wearing a face mask.

He also appears to have on a black hooded sweatshirt, dark-colored pants and dark-colored shoes with white soles. His hands apparently are in his sweatshirt pocket.

Immediately after the shooting, detectives believe the suspect ran southbound on Lewis Avenue and began taking off items of clothing.

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“Someone undoubtedly knows this suspect or recognizes the individual in the video,” Hebeish said. “Someone might even recall knowing a person who was acting strange or unusual the night of March 26.”

It wasn’t known whether there was any contact between the suspect and Soto prior to the shooting. Nothing was taken from her that police are aware of, the chief said.

“There’s nothing to indicate that Briana was anything more than an innocent victim walking home from work,” Hebeish said. “This is devastating for this family as it would be for any of us; it is unfortunate, it’s tragic, we’re not going to stop investigating this crime until we find the person responsible for taking Briana’s life.”

Family members of Soto attended the press conference but declined to speak.

Long Beach police asked anyone with information to call them at 562-570-7244. Anonymous tips can be made by contacting L.A. Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or at lacrimestoppers.org.

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