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2 arrests in killing of guard at San Diego homeless shelter

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Posted at 1:03 PM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 16:03:49-05

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Two men have been arrested on suspicion of killing an unarmed security guard who was shot while working outside a San Diego homeless shelter last month, police said.

Ernest Lee Buchanan was returning from a break on Dec. 29 when he was shot several times on the sidewalk outside the downtown facility run by the Alpha Project. The 44-year-old father of six died at a hospital.

Detectives arrested 47-year-old San Diego resident Floyd Garrett on Saturday in Phoenix and 40-year-old Johnny Lee Hill on Tuesday in San Diego, according police Captain Martha Sainz. It wasn't known Wednesday if they have attorneys.

Police did not identify a motive.

“Buchanan was working as a security guard at the Alpha Project, however this incident does not appear to be connected to the Alpha Project shelter,” Sainz said in a statement .

Friends and family recalled Buchanan to the Union-Tribune as a friendly person who had been a mentor to others, particularly children, and someone who often listened to the stories of people served by the shelter.

As of Tuesday, Garrett remained jailed in Phoenix awaiting extradition to San Diego, Sainz said. Jail records obtained by the newspaper showed Hill was being held in San Diego Central Jail in lieu of $5 million bail on suspicion of murder, assault with a semiautomatic firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Sainz credited footage from smart street lights — which record video and other data at some 4,200 locations around the city — for helping police identify the alleged killers.