SAN JOSE (KCBS) – San Jose’s last homicide of 2012 was committed by an armed man who shot a suspected car thief to death, police said Thursday.

On the morning of New Year’s Eve, 26-year-old Luis Hernandez was in the parking lot of the Sunny Breeze Apartments when he confronted a man who appeared to be breaking into parked cars.

“There was some sort of a violent struggle,” said Officer Albert Morales, a spokesman for the San Jose Police Department.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Hernandez was carrying a gun and opened fire on 36-year-old Christopher Soriano, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

“It’s unfortunate that this situation happened,” Morales said, urging anyone who comes upon a crime in progress to contact police immediately.

Hernandez was arrested and is being held without bail.

Investigators have not determined whether Soriano was in fact burglarizing cars, although court documents show the man did have a lengthy criminal record.

Forty-six people were murdered in San Jose in 2012.

Rising violent crime has spurred the creation of several neighborhood watch groups in San Jose, Morales said, without any noticeable increase in vigilante activity.

Hernandez next court date has been set for Jan. 3.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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