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Police Investigate Shooting Death of Santa Monica Teenager  

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By Jorge Casuso

February 27, 2017 -- A man identified as 18-year-old Juan Sebastian Castillo was found dead of a gunshot wound early Sunday morning lying on a sidewalk near UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, according to police.

The man had sustained a gunshot wound to the head and was pronounced dead on the scene by paramedics shortly after police found him at 5:08 a.m. on the 1300 block of 16th street, said Lt. Saul Rodriguez, the department spokesman.

Police are investigating whether the death was connected to a possible shooting earlier that morning in the 2100 block of Pico Boulevard across the street from Virginia Avenue Park.

"Officers discovered evidence of a shooting in the immediate area," Rodriguez said, "however, no victims or suspects were located.

"At this time, it is unknown if the two incidents are related," he said.

Oscar de la Torre, who runs the Pico Youth and Family Center told The Lookout that Castillo, who grew up in the Pico Neighborhood, was not involved in gangs.

"He never associated with gang members," said de la Torre, a School Board member whose organization serves at risk youth in the city's poorest and most diverse neighborhood.

According to an NBC local news report, Castillo's father said his son had recently graduated from Santa Monica High School and was not involved in gangs.

He said the victim was getting a ride home from a party when the suspected shooting took place.

The investigation is ongoing and detectives are interested in speaking with anyone who was in the area, police said.

Anyone with additional information should contact Detective D. Larios (310) 458-8937; Detective B. Cooper (310) 458-8478 or the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8491.

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