Authorities in California have arrested a 24-year-old suspect in connection with the fatal shooting of the eldest sister of U.S. tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams in a poor Los Angeles suburb.

The Los Angeles County sheriff's department says the suspect, identified as Aaron Michael Hammer, was taken into custody early Monday and is being held without bond.

Deputy Sheriff Bill Spear says Yetunde Price was shot in the chest early Sunday in Compton, where the family once lived. The area has long been notorious for gang violence.

Police are questioning several witnesses who say Ms. Price, who was traveling in a white sport utility vehicle with another man, was involved in a confrontation with some local residents when the shooting occurred. The man she was with was not hurt, but was later arrested on a parole violation.

Investigators say they do not know whether Ms. Price knew her assailant, and they are trying to determine why she was in the neighborhood. She had moved several years ago from the suburb of Compton to Corona, some 60 kilometers away.

Ms. Price, 31, was one of five Williams sisters. She was a registered nurse and worked as a personal assistant to her two famous sisters.

Venus and Serena Williams issued a statement late Sunday saying they are extremely shocked, saddened and devastated by Yetunde's death. Serena is currently the number three female tennis player in the world, and Venus is number six in the world.

The sisters were out of town when they heard the news. Venus flew Sunday from New York to Los Angeles. Serena was in Toronto filming a movie, in which she plays a reformed gang member on parole.