E.C. police identify lead suspect in fatal stabbing of 19-year-old

July 07, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

El Centro police have identified the lead suspect wanted in connection with the stabbing death of a man June 1 and have obtained a warrant for arrest on suspicion of murder.

Meanwhile, authorities opted against filing charges against a 17-year-old El Centro girl arrested on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact.

El Centro police Lt. Paul Longoria on Saturday identified Salvador Serrato, 39, of El Centro as the suspect in the stabbing death of Edward De La Cruz, who died in El Centro Regional Medical Center shortly after the stabbing.

Longoria said police think Serrato was involved in a physical altercation with 19-year-old De La Cruz, of Harbor City, and Serrato allegedly stabbed De La Cruz.


Longoria did not speak specifically about the reason for the confrontation. He did say Serrato and De La Cruz were acquaintances.

The stabbing occurred sometime before 6:30 a.m. June 1 in the 200 block of East Olive Avenue.

De La Cruz was stabbed at least once in the upper chest with a sharp object that has not been recovered.

When police arrived, they found De La Cruz on the south curb and a person attempting to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation. El Centro police Officer Aaron Reel joined the lifesaving efforts, and the two continued CPR until medical crews arrived.

Serrato remained at large as of presstime Saturday.

Longoria said Serrato has no known address. He is known to live with friends at different locations in the city.

He is described as Hispanic, 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 230 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.

The 17-year-old girl was arrested hours after the stabbing on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact in connection with the stabbing.

Longoria said Saturday the decision was made not to pursue charges against her but he did not wish to speak in detail about why that decision was reached.

Longoria added anyone with information about the case can contact police at 352-2111, or 337-4525.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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