Vargas lived in the neighborhood, according to neighbors. Detectives believe Vargas was standing near his parked vehicle when he was shot, according to police. Officers found him wounded in the street when they arrived, police said.
Several neighbors said they were alerted to the crime by the large police presence, including the searchlight and sound of a police helicopter hovering above the block.
Resident Daniel Mitchell said he heard four to five gunshots. When he went out for a cigarette and noticed his neighbors standing outside, their building fenced off by police tape, he knew something serious had happened.
Another resident, Eric Tant said he heard several pops but wasn’t sure whether they were gunshots or fireworks.
“It sounded sketchy, but you just never know in this neighborhood,” Tant said. Either way, he added, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise. “It’s unfortunately a common occurrence around here.”
Shootings have been more common across Long Beach in general recently. During the end of last year and the beginning of this year, gun violence reached levels not seen in the last five years, according to data from police.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with more information from police and neighbors.