Man sentenced to 6 years in prison in Imperial Beach shooting that killed teen


File photo – Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista appears at night on April 10, 2020. (OnScene.TV)

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (CNS) – A 19-year-old man who fatally shot another young man in Imperial Beach last year was sentenced Wednesday to six years in state prison.

Johnathan Reibeling pleaded guilty earlier this year to voluntary manslaughter and a gun-use allegation in connection with the April 10, 2020, shooting death of 18-year-old Diego Rodriguez. Reibeling, who turns 20 on Thursday, faced a murder charge in the case prior to his plea in October.

The victim was shot in the head and dropped off by Reibeling about 12:45 a.m. at Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista. He was pronounced dead shortly after arrival, according to Lt. Thomas Seiver of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Unit.

Reibeling was arrested the following day at a “crime scene” located at a home in the 400 block of Seventh Street in Imperial Beach, police said.

In a statement to the court, Reibeling described the shooting as “a horrible accident,” and said Rodriguez was his “best friend.”

Several members of Rodriguez’s family told San Diego Superior Court Judge Michael Popkins that they didn’t believe the shooting was accidental or a negligent discharge.

While addressing the victim’s family, Popkins said a probation report disclosed that the police investigation into the killing yielded no discernable motive as to why Reibeling would intentionally kill Rodriguez.

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