Central jail in downtown San Diego
The central jail on Front Street in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

A suspect was in custody Thursday in connection with a drug-related shooting that left three people dead, including a toddler, in Normal Heights 23 years ago.

Sergio Lopez Contreras, 44, was booked into San Diego Central Jail on Wednesday on suspicion of carrying out the Sept. 4, 2000, triple slaying, according to the San Diego Police Department.

Shortly after 11 p.m. that day, patrol officers responding to a report of a shooting in the 4500 block of Bancroft Street found Michael Plummer, 20, dead in his apartment, SDPD Lt. Jud Campbell said.

Lying mortally wounded near the body of Plummer were his live-in girlfriend, Adah Pearson, 18, and his nephew, 21-month-old Julio Rangel.

Paramedics took Pearson and the child to hospitals, where doctors pronounced them dead.

The child’s parents were present when the shooting took place and were injured, but survived according to police.

Detectives determined that the killings “stemmed from a drug sale gone bad,” Campbell said.

Contreras was eventually arrested on unrelated charged in Mexico, Campbell said.

The suspect, who was extradited to San Diego this week, is scheduled to be arraigned on three counts of murder Friday afternoon.

– City News Service

Updated 4:25 p.m. March 23, 2023