Photo via Pixabay

A suspect was behind bars Thursday in connection with a shooting that left a man dead early this year in a commercial area alongside state Route 78 in Vista.

Brian Jesus Zarate, 25, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of gunning down 39-year-old Oscar Rodriguez on Jan. 5, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Shortly after midnight that day, patrol personnel responding to a report of a man lying next to the roadway in the 1900 block of West Vista Way found the body of Rodriguez, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

“Witnesses in the area reported hearing what sounded like fireworks prior to deputies arriving,” Lt. Chris Steffen said.

What led to the shooting remains unclear.

“At this stage of the investigation, it appears Zarate knew the victim, but the extent of their relationship is unknown,” the lieutenant said Thursday morning. “The motivation and circumstances are still under investigation.”

Zarate was being held at San Diego Central Jail without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Friday afternoon.

— City News Service