A suspect in the deadly Nov. 6 shooting at Church's Chicken in Otay Mesa was arrested Friday in Memphis, Tennessee, the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) confirmed.
The U.S. Marshals identified the suspect as Albert Lee Blake. USMS agents tracked Blake to a home in Memphis and took him into custody without incident. He was awaiting extradition to San Diego as of Friday night.
San Diego police say a man walked into the Church's Chicken restaurant on Del Sol Boulevard near Picador Boulevard at around 5:35 p.m. on Nov. 6 and opened fire on three employees before he fled the scene.
The gunman reportedly tried to pay with a counterfeit $100 bill and was refused. He returned minutes later and shot at the employees from across the counter, San Diego Police Department Officer John Buttle said.
Three employees were struck by gunfire. Police confirmed Maribel Ibañez, 28, later died from her wounds. Mario Rojas, 51, was shot in the arm and the stomach, and has been in the ICU since the shooting.
Rojas's family told NBC 7 they were excited to tell him about the arrest.
"I'm very happy that he got captured," a family member said. "[Rojas] kept asking me if [the shooter] got caught."
The third victim, Humberto Ruiz has been released from the hospital.
SDPD later said that officers were looking for a black man with a thin build in his 30s. He was described to be about 6 feet tall and wearing a light blue sweater, red sunglasses and a Chargers beanie at the time of the shooting.
Hours after the shooting, police released an image of the vehicle they believed the suspect used to flee the restaurant.
Update #1 on shooting— San Diego Police Department (@SanDiegoPD) November 7, 2019
Suspect is described as a Black male, 30’s, 6-1, thin build, wearing a light blue sweatshirt & blue “Chargers” beanie. Here is a picture of his car taken from surveillance footage. Call CrimeStoppers at 888-580-8477. pic.twitter.com/5B0oTOdbiL
SDPD issued a warrant for Blake's arrest on Nov. 14 and requested help from Marshals, the USMS said.
“I just heard the news and it's awesome, the efforts were great and hats off to what they [police] are doing,” said Ruben Torres, who knew Maribel Ibañez. “The family wants justice, everyone involved wants justice and I think even more importantly there’s a lot of healing to do within the community.”
Witnesses inside and near to Church’s Chicken off Picador and Del Sol boulevards described the moments just before the shooting happened.
One witness, Jose, said he saw the suspect "standing right behind the register and firing at the employees."
Another witness, Marco Truvino, saw the suspect go in and out of the eatery several times and heard part of the argument while he was eating dinner inside.
The suspect told one employee who wouldn't accept the bill, "'Hey, are you planning to keep me here all night long?'" Truvino said. A woman asked the suspect to step out of the line.
Another witness said he saw the suspect leave in a hurry.
"He was just booking it. He was out that door as fast as he could get out of it," said David Walker, who was sitting in a car outside the restaurant when he heard gunfire.