Man arrested on suspicion of beating elderly man to death

FALLBROOK, Calif. — A 21-year-old man who allegedly attacked and beat three people outside a Fallbrook church Wednesday, fatally injuring an 84-year-old man, was arrested a short time later on suspicion of assault and murder.

Deputies responding to a report of a disturbance in the 300 block of East Elder Street shortly before noon contacted two of the victims, who said they were painting the exterior of the church when a youthful stranger accosted and punched them, then ran off, according to sheriff’s officials.

The patrol personnel found the gravely wounded senior citizen lying in an alley alongside the west side of the church, Lt. Kenneth Nelson said. Medics took the victim to Palomar Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. His name was withheld pending family notification.

Shortly before 12:30 p.m., deputies searching the area spotted a man matching the description of the assailant in the 700 block of East Fallbrook Street and took him into custody.

Witnesses identified the suspect, Keith Vazquez of Fallbrook, as the assailant, and he was arrested on suspicion of carrying out the attacks, Nelson said.

The motive for the violence was unknown.