Man fatally shot in homeless encampment near 91 Freeway, police say

A 64-year-old man who lived in a homeless encampment near the 91 Freeway was shot and killed Sunday night, police said.

Witnesses called police at about 8:10 p.m. to the encampment, which is adjacent to the westbound lanes of the 91 Freeway near the 2300 block of East 68th Street, according to the Long Beach Police Department.

The victim, identified as Samuel Villalba from Long Beach, was unresponsive and officers tried to save him, police said. Villalba dead at the scene, according to authorities. Police believe he lived in the encampment and was shot multiple times in his upper body.

“Witnesses at the scene described two or more male suspects fleeing the scene on foot toward Cherry Avenue,” police said.

Detectives do not yet know the motive for the shooting, but are investigating it as gang-related. The LBPD defines gang-related crimes as any crime committed “for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with any criminal street gang.”

Police asked that anyone with information regarding the shooting call Detectives Donald Collier or Leticia Gamboa at 562-570-7244. Anonymous tips may be submitted by calling 800-222-8477 or by visiting www.LACrimeStoppers.org.

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Valerie Osier is a breaking news and crime reporter for the Long Beach Post. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from the Cal State Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband and two cats.
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