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Duarte man sentenced to 91 years to life in shooting death of neighbor

A 42-year-old Duarte man was sentenced to 91 years and eight months to life in state prison for killing his neighbor in a dispute in 2016, according to the Los Angeles county district attorney’s office.

A jury on Jan. 26 convicted Luis Santillan Valdes of murder, attempted murder, fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving and four counts of assault with a firearm, according to a news release from the district attorney’s office.

Jurors also found true allegations that Valdes discharged a firearm, causing death.

On Aug. 19, 2016, Gabriel Alejandro De La Torre, 32, invited people over to his backyard, including Valdes.

While the group was hanging out, Valdes became offended by a remark and got angry that the group was laughing at him, according to prosecutors.

Valdes, a Latino, left the party, returned with a gun and shot De La Torre before pointing his gun at two other men and shooting at one of them. 

Valdes also pointed the gun at three other people, prosecutors said.

De La Torre’s family called 911, and Valdes fled in a white pickup truck, officials previously told The Times. Authorities found Valdes, but he refused to pull over.

Eventually, he stopped on the 210 Freeway in Azusa.

Family members told The Times that De La Torre was an electrician who was trying to save up money to buy a house and start his own business.

“He was just a cool guy, always joking around,” said Kathy Serna, his sister-in-law.

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @nicolesantacruz and @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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