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2 arrested in fatal shooting of man found dead in burning home, police say

The body of 54-year-old Long Beach resident Willie Smith was discovered in the 5300 block of Pine Avenue on March 13, as fire crews worked to put out a fire at a home in the area.

2 arrested in fatal shooting of man found dead in burning home, police say

Long Beach police say they’ve arrested two men on suspicion of killing another man whose body was found by firefighters putting out a fire at a North Long Beach home last month.

The body of 54-year-old Long Beach resident Willie Smith was discovered in the 5300 block of Pine Avenue on March 13, as fire crews worked to put out a fire at a home in the area.

Detectives and arson investigators who responded to the scene classified the incident as an undetermined death, while they waited for the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s office to determine how Smith died.

Eventually, the medical examiner concluded Smith had been shot multiple times and ruled his death a homicide.

Detectives soon identified 31-year-old Long Beach resident Jabari Prince and 27-year-old Los Angeles resident Kevin Leslie Jr. as suspects in Smith’s death.

Leslie was arrested by detectives Thursday on suspicion of murder, authorities said. Prince, meanwhile, was taken into custody Friday on suspicion of murder and violating parole, according to the Long Beach Police Department. Each man’s bail was set at $2 million, they added.

Police did not say what led them to Leslie and Prince or whether all three men knew each other. A motive for the slaying remains under investigation, according to the LBPD.

Detectives will present the case against the two suspects to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office early next week for filing consideration, police said.

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