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Man With Corpse in Car Is Arrested

June 04, 2003|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

A man who authorities said led Fontana police on a high-speed chase while he had a corpse in his back seat was arrested by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department on suspicion of murder.

Police said Augustine Villegas, 21, led them on a brief car chase along Foothill Boulevard in Fontana late Sunday night, and then got out and held a female passenger hostage at gunpoint. An officer then shot him, authorities said. After the shooting, officers found the body in the back seat of Villegas' Dodge Neon.

Fontana police announced Tuesday that the female was Villegas' girlfriend.

Police spokeswoman Dawn Rowe said the body in the car was that of Daniel Perez Jr., 24, of Colton, a friend of Villegas.

"Why the suspect shot the victim is still being investigated," Rowe said. "We believe it was a dispute. We don't believe it was an accidental shooting."

Villegas, who was hospitalized, is scheduled to be jailed at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga upon his release.

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