Authorities today announced an increased reward of $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for an apparently gang-related car-to-car shooting that killed a 22- year-old El Cajon man on Interstate 8 last spring.
The Sycuan Tribe of Mission Indians, of which victim Xusha Brown Jr. was a member, has pledged an additional $40,000 to its earlier posting of $49,000 as an incentive for tips in the case, officials said during a morning briefing. Brown's parents, meanwhile, have offered $10,000, and San Diego County Crime Stoppers another $1,000.
About 3:30 a.m. May 5, someone inside a silver or light-gray sedan opened fire on the eastbound Nissan Maxima in which Brown was riding near State Route 125 in La Mesa, according to police. A bullet struck him in the head, and the 21-year-old man next to him in the driver's seat suffered an arm wound, Lt. Matt Nicholass said.
The Nissan skidded out of control, crashed and overturned as the other vehicle, which had at least two people in it, sped off. Brown died at Sharp Memorial Hospital about 14 hours later. Several additional passengers in the Maxima were unhurt.
Investigators suspect that the killing was gang-related, through Brown was not believed to have any such affiliations and apparently was not the target of the gunfire, Nicholass told news crews.
Brown's mother, Deborah Flores, described her family's loss and hope for justice during today's news conference at La Mesa police headquarters.
"Somebody that night made a choice to change our lives forever, and our lives have forever changed," she said.
Daniel Tucker, chairman of the Sycuan tribe, called on any reluctant witnesses to come forward immediately.
"Justice has to be served," he said. "This has to happen, and it has to happen now. Please don't be afraid to make that commitment for somebody's life."
Anyone with information about the case was asked to call Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477, or email the agency at sdcrimestoppers.com. Tipsters may remain anonymous.
-- City News Service