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Suspect arrested in King City homicide

Modified: Friday, Dec 14th, 2012

Ruben Chavez Laveaga

KING CITY — King City Police Chief Nick Baldiviez confirmed Friday that an arrest has been made in connection with the Dec. 4 homicide on Bassett Street.

Calexico police apprehended Ruben Laveaga, 37, after finding him on top of a resident’s roof in Calexico on Vega Street just off Imperial Avenue Thursday afternoon.

Calexico police had been looking for Laveaga for about a week after being notified by the U.S. Marshals Service that he has family living in Calexico.

A resident called the police shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday and said there was a man on top of the roof. Police told him to get down, and Laveaga eventually did. He refused to provide his name to authorities, and was later booked into Imperial County Jail.

Laveaga was later released into the custody of King City Police and transported to Monterey County.

The arrest in Calexico came just hours after the King City Police Department held a press conference to announce a warrant for Laveaga’s arrest in connection with the fatal stabbing of Roger Anthony Esquivel, 37, of King City. The stabbing took place at about 6:37 a.m. on Dec. 4 at a residence in the 500 block of Bassett Street.

At the press conference, Baldiviez said Laveaga was identified through an intense investigation as the assailant.

According to a prepared statement Baldiviez read at the press conference, Laveaga entered a residence located in the 500 block of Bassett Street early Tuesday morning, at which time he confronted Esquivel, who was inside the home. The confrontation ended with Esquivel sustaining several stab wounds. Laveaga then fled on foot. After receiving a 911 call reporting a victim of assault, King City Police officers arrived within minutes and found Esquivel semi-conscious on the floor. Esquivel was taken to Mee Memorial Hospital, where he subsequently succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead. It is believed that the assailant and victim may have known each other.

Continuing to read from the prepared statement, Baldiviez said Laveaga was also positively identified as being the suspect in the armed robbery that occurred Tuesday, Dec. 4 at approximately 1:50 a.m. at the 7-Eleven store located at 801 Broadway St. A warrant for the arrest of Laveaga has already been issued in regard to the robbery. Further follow-up led investigators to believe that the physical description of suspect Laveaga also matched that of the suspect seen fleeing the scene of the homicide later that morning.

“I would like to personally praise all the officers involved in this investigation, that worked very hard, very tenacious, on this case, for their duty and hard work,” Baldiviez said.

The conference was not opened up to questions afterward.

Imperial Valley Press reporter Chelcey Adami contributed to this report.

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