Suspect in deadly Church’s Chicken shooting arrested

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SAN DIEGO -- A man who allegedly shot up an Otay Mesa fast-food restaurant, killing one employee and wounding two others, was arrested in Tennessee Friday and is facing extradition to California.

Albert Lee Blake, the suspect in the deadly Nov. 6 shooting at the Church's Chicken outlet in the 3700 block of Del Sol Boulevard, was taken into custody in Memphis, Tennessee by the U.S. Marshals Service, San Diego Police Department Lt. Matt Dobbs said.

The early-evening eruption of gunfire at the restaurant fatally wounded 28-year-old Maribel Merino Ibanez of San Diego and seriously injured two co-workers, both of them men, police said.

Witnesses told investigators the suspect walked into the restaurant and ordered food, but got into an argument with employees and left, Dobbs said.

"He returned minutes later armed with a handgun and shot at three employees," Dobbs said. "There were customers inside the restaurant but none were injured. The suspect left in a dark-colored sedan northbound on Picador Boulevard."

After an intensive investigation, Blake, 49, was identified as the suspect and a warrant was issued for his arrest, Dobbs said.

"Believing that Blake had fled the state, the assistance of the United States Marshals Service was requested," according to Dobbs, who said Blake faces extradition to San Diego.

A GoFundMe.com page set up to help Ibanez's family with funeral expenses memorialized her as "a loving daughter, sister and aunt" who had recently married.

The goal of $10,000 was surpassed with $12,885 raised and the page was deactivated.

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