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Suspect arrested in Normal Heights cold-case triple murder

By Pat Mueller,


The San Diego Police Department announced Thursday that a suspect in a nearly 23-year-old triple murder case out of Normal Heights is now in its custody.

SDPD received a call about a shooting at an apartment complex at 4515 Bancroft St. around 11 p.m. on Sept. 4, 2000.

Officers found three victims inside an apartment when they arrived. Michael Plummer, 20, was dead at the scene, while 18-year-old Adah Pearson and 21-month-old Julio Rangel died from their injuries at the respective hospitals they were taken to, SDPD's press release says.

When the department's Homicide Unit responded to the scene, it determined the motive of the shooting was drug-related.

At the time, SDPD detectives identified the suspect as 22-year-old Sergio Lopez Contreras, who is now 44 years old.

Police believed Contreras ran away to Mexico after the shooting, so SDPD detectives coordinated with the District Attorney's Office to get a murder warrant for his arrest.

"Lopez Contreras was later taken into custody on unrelated charges in Mexico," the press release says.

On Wednesday, March 22, 2023, the U.S. Marshals and La Fiscalía General de la República brought Lopez Contreras across the Mexican border and transferred him into SDPD's custody, according to the department.

He was arrested and booked into a San Diego County jail on murder charges.

Lopez Contreras' first court appearance is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Friday, March 24, 2023.

If you have any information regarding this case for police, reach out to SDPD's Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

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