Man killed in overnight beating at East County strip mall

EL CAJON, Calif. — An overnight argument at an East County strip mall escalated Wednesday into a beating that left a man dead and his suspected killer under arrest.

Officers responding to a call at the shopping area on North Second Street in El Cajon about 2 a.m. found a man suffering from a severe head injury, according to police. Medics took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Lt. Walt Miller said.

The suspect was identified as 29-year-old Gary Eugene Rayford. Eyewitnesses told police the two men were arguing when Rayford knocked the victim out with at least one blow to the head from a roughly 3-foot- long stick, according to Miller.

The victim’s name was not released.

“Investigators are trying to determine if the suspect and the victim knew each other prior to the incident and what may have led to the attack,” the lieutenant said.

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