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CHULA VISTA, Calif. — A man accused of fatally shooting a 17-year-old boy at a Chula Vista park earlier this month pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a murder charge.

Deonte Martinez, 22, is accused of opening fire on the unidentified teen at Sunset View Park in the Eastlake area of Chula Vista on the evening of March 11, according to police.

A 16-year-old boy was also arrested for allegedly shooting the victim, while 18-year-old Larry Bradford was arrested on suspicion of accessory to murder.

Patrol officers responding to reports of gunfire shortly before 7:30 p.m. found the victim on the ground, mortally wounded. Paramedics took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“The investigation has shown the victim went to the park prior to the shooting with several acquaintances,” CVPD Lt. Dan Peak said. “While at the park, a physical fight took place between the group(s). After the fight, two subjects brandished handguns and began shooting the victim. The reason for the fight and motive for the shooting remains unknown.”

Chula Vista police and Councilmember John McCann hosted a virtual forum Tuesday urging residents to report crimes as they see them following the shootings.

Police say both are unrelated, but both were preceded by an “illegal transaction” followed by a fight. 

“I want to tell the community: the biggest thing is make sure you call the police so if there seems like something suspicious,” McCann said.

Bradford and the 16-year-old were arrested on March 22 at a Spring Valley home. Three days later, Martinez turned himself in at Chula Vista police headquarters.

Martinez remains in custody without bail pending a bail review hearing scheduled for April 6.

The 16-year-old defendant is also charged with murder and was arraigned last week in juvenile court, according to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. His next hearing is an April 22 readiness conference.

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