Friends of college student booked for murder of homeless man claim he acted in self-defense

A teen who is currently in jail in L.A. County on suspicion of murder of a homeless man acted in self-defense, his friends say.

Just after 8 p.m. on Monday, 19-year-old Ivan Gallegos and two friends heard the sound of a car alarm nearby. After calling police, they then went to investigate the alarm for themselves.

‘Throughout his childhood, Ivan navigated the realities of both his parents’ involvement in gang activities, leading to their intermittent incarceration.’

They found a 27-year-old homeless man sitting in a car that belonged to one of their other friends who was not present at the time. The car was parked on private property along the University of Southern California’s Fraternity Row.

The three young men confronted the vagrant, who may have broken into other cars in the area as well. When the men demanded that he leave the area, the vagrant retorted that he had a gun on him and that the car now belonged to him, Los Angeles magazine reported.

A scuffle then ensued, and the homeless man allegedly reached for his waistband, according to a GoFundMe account established for Gallegos, ostensibly prompting Gallegos to stab the man in self-defense. The vagrant died from his injuries at the scene.

It is unclear why Gallegos may have had a knife on him. No gun was ever recovered from the scene.

“He feared for his life,” one of Gallegos’ friends told L.A. magazine. “He had to defend himself.”

“When I heard what happened, I immediately knew it wasn’t because he had malintent,” another said. “Something had to have happened in order for him to do what he did.”

Despite their claims of self-defense, police immediately arrested Gallegos on suspicion of murder and booked him into county jail, where he remains on $2 million bail, as Blaze News previously reported. As of Tuesday morning, the DA had not filed any charges against him.

Gallegos is a member of Delta Tau Delta who just completed his sophomore year at USC, studying business. On his LinkedIn profile, he also claims to be the first in his family to go to college.

According to a feature piece from USC Annenberg Media, Gallegos grew up in L.A. under difficult circumstances. “Throughout his childhood, Ivan navigated the realities of both his parents’ involvement in gang activities, leading to their intermittent incarceration,” the article said, adding that as a child, he was frequently exposed to “drugs, gangs, and prostitution.”

The area where the stabbing occurred is also rife with violence and crime, largely on account of the high homeless population, other USC students claimed.

“Street lights, a lot of them, you’ll find, are out,” one student said. “What’s happening is they’re tearing out these boxes and selling them, getting money for them, so they’re taking the copper wire. It’s a whole thing around here.”

Another student insisted that while the USC campus is generally “pretty safe,” “everybody is aware that some of the surrounding areas aren’t as safe.”

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