A man arrested in connection with a homicide investigation in El Cajon has been charged with first degree murder.
The San Diego Sheriff's Department (SDSO) took Richard James Gunner, 23, into custody Saturday night after a man was found dead on a sidewalk with wounds to his body earlier that morning.
Gunner was initially ruled a person of interest and was arrested on a parole violation at around 10 p.m.
His arraignment is set for Wednesday, September 28 at 1:30 p.m.
SDSO said deputies discovered the victim, in his 20s, lying on a sidewalk in the 500 block of Danny Street at 6:30 a.m. He was dead and appeared to have suffered traumatic injuries to his upper body, investigators confirmed.
Deputies cordoned the residential area and began an investigation into the apparent homicide.
SDSO Lt. Dan Brislin said Saturday that the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office was conducting an autopsy on the victim to determine his cause and manner of death.
"We are still very much in the infancy stage of this investigation. Homicide detectives are interviewing potential witnesses and trying to determine the circumstances surrounding this death," Brislin explained to reporters.
No further details were immediately released, including the victim’s name. Officials said the victim is between 20 and 25 years old.
Anyone with information on this case can call the SDSO’s Homicide Detail at (858) 974-2321 or (858) 565-5200, or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.
NBC 7 spoke with El Cajon resident Luke Uehling at the scene, a longtime friend of the victim. Uehling described the man who died as a relaxed, carefree person. On the verge of tears, he said he was shocked by his friend's death.
"I don't know how to handle it," said Uehling. "I just wish that his family can find some sort of solace."