A man whom authorities say admitted to shooting another man to death at a North Long Beach gas station in self-defense pleaded no contest last week to a weapon charge, court records show.
Eloy Lobato Jr. will be sentenced Aug. 31 after pleading no contest to one count of prohibited possession of a firearm by a felon during a pre-hearing conference Thursday, according to court records. He remains out of jail on $35,000 bail, court records show.
Lobato was was taken into custody last month in connection to the shooting death of Christopher Brito at a Valero gas station.
Though it remains unclear why, an altercation erupted between Lobato and Brito the night of July 25, which resulted in the deadly shooting.
Following his arrest on suspicion of murder and prohibited possesion of a firearm by a felon, Lobato admitted in an interview with detectives to having shot Brito in self-defense, police wrote in search warrant filed in Long Beach Superior Court earlier this month.
Officers eventually turned the case over to prosecutors, who declined to file murder or manslaughter charges against Lobato, opting instead to pursue only a weapon charge, which stemmed from police finding a firearm during his arrest.
“A (murder) charge was declined because Lobato could make a reasonable case for self-defense under the circumstances,” a spokesperson with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said last week. “The investigating officer is in agreement with that decision.”
Russell Nieto, who was also taken into custody on suspicion of accessory to murder in connection with Brito’s death and was charged with one count of prohibited possession of a firearm by a felon, has also pleaded no contest.