Suspects Plead Guilty in Slaying of Teens at Park

The three suspects are documented gang members and accused of killing two teenagers at Libby Lake Park in Oceanside on May 3, 2011

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 7 San Diego
    Victims Sandra Salgado, 14, and Fernando Felix Solano,16, were gunned down and killed at Libby Lake Park on May 3, 2011.

    A group of suspected gang members accused of killing two San Diego teenagers at a community park in Oceanside will spend between 20 years and life in prison for the slayings.

    On Friday, the three suspects entered guilty pleas in the shooting deaths of 14-year-old Sandra Salgado and 16-year-old Fernando Felix Solano, killed at Libby Lake Park on May 3, 2011.

    Under the terms of a plea bargain, Al’C Bejaran, 21, pled guilty to two counts of murder. He will be sentenced on Dec. 11 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    Kenneth Hamilton, 36, and Justin Gibson, 21 – who were with Bejeran at the time of the deadly shootings -- both pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter charges, and will be sentenced on January 14, 2014, to 20 years in prison. A judge said they must serve 85 percent of their sentence before being eligible for parole.

    According to inmate booking records, Hamilton and Gibson have both been in custody at the Vista Detention Facility since June 9, 2011 – about five weeks after the killings.

    At the time of his booking for the double-murder in 2011, Bejaran was already in prison being held on a parole violation.

    All three men were part of a gang, according to prosecutors.

    On the night of their murders, prosecutors said Solano and Salgado had gotten together to hang out at Libby Lake Park.

    Libby Lake Park Homicide Investigation

    [DGO] Libby Lake Park Homicide Investigation
    Someone called Oceanside police around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday reporting shots fired. When officers arrived they found a man and woman dead in the northeast area of Libby Lake Park located east of Douglas Drive and north of the San Luis Rey River. Monica Dean reports. (Published Wednesday, May 4, 2011)

    A deputy district attorney said that at the time, the park in Oceanside was “claimed” by a gang that rivaled the gang the suspects were allegedly a part of. Prosecutors believe that when Bejaran discovered Solano and Salgado at the park, he presumed they were rival gang members and fatally shot them. The suspects then fled the scene.

    Prosecutors said the teenage victims were not part of a gang and were not armed.

    The bodies of Solano and Salgado were found around 10:30 p.m. that night in the northeast area of Libby Lake Park, which is located north of the San Luis Rey River near Douglas Drive.

    In November 2011, an officer testified that he found Solano sitting on a chair with what appeared to be blood on his chest area. Salgado was found lying on the ground, the officer said.

    Prosecutors said Friday’s plea bargains and the upcoming sentencing dates are the final chapter in a case that has long haunted the families of the young victims.

    Meanwhile, Libby Lake Park continues to be a focal point for police and the Oceanside community. The park has seen much gang-related violence in recent years.

    In addition to the murders of Solano and Salgado, four other teenagers were gunned down at the park on March 13, 2013. Two of those teens -- Edgar Sanchez Rios, 16, and Melanie Virgen, 13 – were killed in that shooting and the other two victims were seriously injured.

    Four young men were arrested a couple of weeks later in connection with that fatal shooting. They were charged with murder, attempted murder and participation in a criminal street gang.

    Both of the gang-related shootings have sparked outrage in the community and arguments from locals who want to see better lighting and increased security in the area.

    Last month, an event was held at the park that united local families against gang violence, empowering residents to take back the community space.
     

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