*EL MONTE — Police jailed a suspected local gang member Wednesday in connection with a severe beating in front of an El Monte liquor store that was caught on surveillance tape, officials said.
Juan Villegas, 23, of El Monte was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and gang enhancements shortly after 4 p.m., El Monte police Detective Ralph Batres said.
“Detectives spotted him walking in the area of Durfee and Rush in South El Monte,” the detective said. Villegas, who is believed to be a member of a local street gang, was was taken into custody without further incident.
The arrest stems from an apparently unprovoked attack on May 21 in which a 27-year-old El Monte man was badly beaten in front of Little Five Points Liquor, 2602 Mountain View Road, El Monte Monte police Sgt. David Vautrin said in a written statement.
The 27-year-old had his jaw broken in four places and lost several teeth in the alleged broad daylight attack, officials said.
He was recovering Wednesday with his jaw wired shut, Batres said.
A motive in the beating remained unknown Wednesday, he said.
“It appears to be an unprovoked attack, however we have two detectives still investigating it,” Batres said.
“More arrests are expected,” he added.
Investigators made use of surveillance tape from the nearby store to help identify Villegas as a suspect prior to his arrest, Batres added.
According to court records, Villegas is being held in lieu of $30,000. The date of his initial court appearance was not available Wednesday.
PHOTO of Juan Villegas courtesy of the El Monte Police Department.