Courtroom gavel
A courtroom gavel. File photo

A man who gunned down an 18-year-old in a gang-related slaying in National City nearly seven years ago was sentenced Friday to 67 years to life in state prison.

Roger Hernandez, 34, was convicted of murder and attempted murder on Oct. 11, 2015, shooting the death of Juan Carlos Munoz, Jr.

Munoz was behind the wheel of his car when he and his 17-year-old passenger were shot just before 8 p.m. Munoz died of his injuries, while the 17- year-old suffered a gunshot wound to his leg.

Prosecutors allege that Hernandez and co-defendant Luis Karam mistook the victims for gang rivals and followed them in a car. Karam, 33, who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to state prison earlier this year, drove a Nissan Altima that pulled alongside the victim’s vehicle near Prospect and East 16th streets, prosecutors said.

Hernandez then issued a gang challenge and opened fire.

Hernandez and Karam were arrested in late 2018.

In a statement released after the sentencing, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said, “This innocent young victim was hunted by violent gang members and was tragically in the wrong place at the wrong time. A measure of justice has finally been delivered to the family of Juan Muñoz, Jr. We will continue to fight to keep every neighborhood safe from crime and address gang violence through prosecution and prevention.”

Updated at 11:45 a.m. Sept. 9, 2022

–City News Service