A 23-year-old Chino Hills man was arrested on suspicion of murder after a 25-year-old man was shot May 17 inside a Boys Republic transitional housing unit at 3850 Eucalyptus Ave., Chino Hills. 

Alejandro Rafael Casarez is being held at the Adelanto Detention Center in the high desert. 

He pleaded not guilty Tuesday to one count of murder and an enhancement of discharging a firearm, causing great bodily injury, court records show. Mr. Casarez is scheduled to return to West Valley Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday, May 28 for a pre-preliminary hearing.

Mr. Casarez and Pomona resident Shermaine Thompson, 25, were visiting someone at the transitional housing unit when they began arguing around 11:30 p.m., said Detective Simon Demuri.

“Mr. Casarez produced a handgun and shot the victim,” the detective said.

Mr. Thompson was taken to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center in Pomona, where he died at 1:53 a.m., according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office.

Deputies searched for the suspected shooter and found him at 11:14 a.m. Saturday at Yellowstone Circle and Carlsbad Place, the neighborhood directly south of the Boys Republic transitional housing unit. 

Boys Republic Executive Director Chris Burns said the transitional housing unit has been open for 15 years and the fatal shooting was the first time a crime of that magnitude has taken place.

“The transitional housing unit is separate from the main campus,” Mr. Burns said. “It is not under our care or supervision. Residents who live there are students who have graduated out of the Boys Republic system.”

The 5-acre property, known as Eagles Landing, is managed by the non-profit group Boys Republic Transitional, a branch of the overall Boys Republic system. It is funded through private donations.

The transitional housing unit is available for adults ages 18 to 21 who have completed the Boys Republic Independent Living Program. It provides graduates a subsidized apartment while they learn life skills, gain job experience and complete a vocational training program.

Anyone with information on the shooting can call Chino Hills Police at 364-2000 or visit the WeTip website at wetip.com

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