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Three arrested in shooting that killed East L.A. football player in 2013

Three East Los Angeles men were arrested last week in connection with the death of former Garfield High football player Gabriel Soto, 21, who was shot and killed during a party with his friends on March 25, 2013. 

Soto's family members made a public plea for information about the killers on Nov. 18, when the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced a $20,000 reward for information about the shooter.

No one has claimed the reward, said Sgt. Ken Perry, "but the press conference for the reward and the plea from the family led to clues that resulted in the arrest of these three individuals."

Two men were arrested Dec. 9 on search warrants at their East L.A. homes, Perry said. Jonathon Gonzalez, a 28-year-old Latino, and Roque Solis, a 30-year-old Latino, were arrested on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, Perry said. 

A third man, Anthony Gabriel, a 25-year-old Latino, was arrested on a probable cause warrant on Dec. 11 as he was walking into the Los Angeles County Criminal Courts building on unrelated business, Perry said. 

Soto was a student at Lincoln University in Missouri, where he was playing football on scholarship and studying electrical engineering. He was home visiting with five friends when a man began shooting at them. Soto died, and another friend was wounded by a gunshot to the leg. 

Perry said he couldn't comment about the motive behind the shooting or the roles the three suspects may have played, but he said investigators don't believe Soto knew the shooter or was the intended target. 

The suspects "may have some gang affiliation," Perry said, but Soto and his friends were not gang members. 

"These were all just normal East L.A. kids," Perry said. "Gabriel was back from college on break, and these were his high school and football friends just getting together to see him and hang out."

Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators Perry, Sgt. Fred Reynolds or Det. Eddie Aguirre in the Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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