New information presented to detectives early this year led to the arrest of a Riverside man in the shooting death of a Rancho Cucamonga man on the 10 Freeway in Montclair two decades ago.
Luis Castillo, 41, was charged with murder in the 2002 shooting death of 27-year-old Julian Eugene Akens, according to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.
The shooting happened shortly before midnight on Aug. 24, 2002, on the 10 Freeway east of Central Avenue. Responding officers with the Montclair Police Department found Akens suffering a gunshot wound inside of a bullet-riddled light green Oldsmobile that had crashed into a right shoulder barrier east of the Central Avenue off-ramp.
Officers administered first aid before he was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead early Sunday morning, Aug. 25, 2002.
Witnesses reported a verbal altercation between a suspect and Akens and seeing gunfire from a silver car on the freeway, but no arrests were made at the time and, eventually, all leads were exhausted, according to police.
In early 2022, a person who knew Castillo reported a tip to the Police Department about the incident, Montclair Police Detective Joshua Garabedian said Tuesday, March 29.
“We started looking into it and started seeing a lot of things that lined up from the information we had from witnesses from 20 years ago,” Garabedian said. “Lots of details people who would have had to have been there to have known.”
After looking through old booking photos, re-reading witness statements and conducting additional interviews, the “overwhelming” evidence pointed to Castillo as the suspected shooter, Garabedian said.
An arrest warrant was obtained and Castillo was contacted during a traffic stop in Norco on March 18, the detective said. He was subsequently interviewed and placed under arrest, Garabedian said.
“The last thing he expected 20 years later was be asked about this,” Garabedian said.
Despite the new information, it was still unclear what prompted the alleged verbal altercation on the freeway between Castillo and Akens in 2002, Garabedian said.
Castillo was being held on $1 million bail, according to San Bernardino County jail records.