The Chula Vista Police Department is conducting a homicide investigation into a suspicious death after a body was found inside or near Raza Tattoo Sunday morning.
On Monday CVPD identified the victim as Lito Quiroz, one of the owners and tattoo artists at the tattoo shop.
Officers first responded to a caller reporting suspicious activity at the business in the 300 block of Broadway Avenue around 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.
The caller gave little information but alleged that armed suspects were inside the business. Officers attempted to make contact with someone inside the shop, but no one responded.
Eventually, a relative of the owner called police, worried that the owner might be inside. When CVPD gained access, they found Quiroz's body.
Detectives of the Crimes of Violence Unit, in cooperation with the Chula Vista Police Crime Laboratory and the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office, are conducting the investigation. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.
A neighbor, Ashley Moreno, said she was woken up by police officers searching for the armed suspects. She brought a candle to Raza Tattoo later that same day to share her sympathies with the family that lost a loved one.
"They were just really emotional," Moreno said. "They were crying. They were on the floor crying. It was really bad."
Quiroz was godfather to a four-year-old girl.
"It killed me," said Manuel Mariscao, father to Quiroz's goddaughter. "I don't even know how I'm going to tell my daughter that her nino is not even around anymore."
Friends and family placed candles and pictures outside the tattoo shop to honor Quiroz's memory. What should have been a celebration for the opening of his tattoo shop is now recognized as a tragedy.
"He's somewhat of a celebrity," said Javier Cortez, one of Quiroz's friends in attendance to his memorial. "One of a few tattoo artists that went to San Diego and made it."
Quiroz had just opened Raza Tattoo with a partner within the past few months. The city of Chula Vista had not yet approved the owners' business license.
CVPD is investigating his death as a homicide.