A teenage boy accused of fatally shooting a fellow teen in Lemon Grove last weekend pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that include murder.
The 15-year-old juvenile suspect, whose name is not being released due to his age, is accused of killing Omar Marquez, also 15.
Sheriff's deputies found Omar dead at around 2 a.m. at the corner Palm and Mulder streets, according to sheriff's Lt. Chris Steffen.
The suspect was arrested at about 7 p.m. Monday near the 8100 block of Mazer Street. The sheriff's department did not disclose how he was identified as the shooting suspect.
A suspected motive for the shooting has not been released, though the sheriff's department did say both the suspect and victim attended the same high school.
"The suspect and the victim attended the same high school," the lieutenant said. Friends said they attended Mount Miguel High School in Spring Valley.
A curb-side memorial was growing Monday at the spot where Marquez died. Family and friends sang songs and reflected on the teenager's memory.
“It's just so crazy because he was so innocent, so sweet,” said his friend Fernanda. “The greatest personality and a big smile. To not see that anymore, it’s heartbreaking.”
Bella Cervantes said she'll never forget her 15-year-old friend's heart.
“He was always there for me as a friend when stuff went down," Bella said. "With certain personal stuff, he was there to support me and tell me everything would be fine."
Marquez had just finished his first year at Mt. Miguel High, where, his father said, he tried out for the football team. Family and friends said that fishing and playing video games were just a few of Omar’s hobbies.
“He wanted to be a millionaire," said Omar's father, who said making money was a big part of his son’s life.
That’s part of the reason why, he said, he was looking forward to taking his son to work with him more often this summer at his construction site.
“So he could open up and open his eyes to the real work world and what it's about," said Omar’s dad.
Omar’s father didn't say what his son was doing outside at the time of the shooting; he only said it was a tragedy. For their part, Omar’s friends are struggling to understand while the search for the gunman continues.
Along with murder, the defendant faces robbery, firearm and ammunition possession charges, and an allegation of discharging a firearm. He's due back in court June 27.