Family pleads for help to find killer of undocumented man found dead in Tustin

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- A family pleaded for the public's help Tuesday to find the killer of a 24-year-old man who died in a suspected gang shooting.

Jose Peralta, 24, and two friends were in the 200 block of Cedar Street Saturday night when he was shot.

"The victim and his friends were in the line of fire. There was a suspect group that did in fact shoot at another group of individuals in that street," Santa Ana police Sgt. Julian Rodriguez said.

Tustin police found Peralta's body Sunday in the front yard of a home in the 600 block of W. Main Street. At this point, authorities believe his two friends took his body to that spot.

"We believe that they panicked and they did not know what to do at that point," Rodriguez said.

Authorities said the two friends are cooperating in the investigation. Peralta's sister-in-law said he was undocumented and believes his friends may also be, which may have added to their panic.

She said he came to the U.S. four years ago to earn money to send back to his sick mother.

"At first when we told her, she wanted to die. She said she wanted to be with him, she wanted to die," Maria Soto said.

The family is heartbroken over his death, especially when his 25th birthday is just a week away. Soto said they had already planned to celebrate his birthday and Peralta had taken three days off for the festivities.

Santa Ana police are offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspected killer.
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