From Tribune staff reports:
VALINDA — A man threw a beer can at a passing car and then fatally shot a man in front of his family before he killed himself, police said Friday.
David Sua, 37, of Valinda was pronounced dead Thursday night at the scene of the shooting, along with gunman George Zavala, 34, of West Covina, according to officials and family members.
The shooting occurred during a confrontation between the two men about 8:30 p.m. at Samgerry Drive and Rimgrove Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Ed Hernandez said in a statement.
“The victim, David Sua, was driving to dinner with his family when the suspect threw a beer can at the Sua family’s vehicle,” Hernandez said. “Sua exited the car and confronted the suspect, who produced a handgun.”
Nearby resident Ramona Hagen said she saw the shooting and tried to help Sua’s wife and teenage daughter render aid to Sua, who seemed to have a pulse moments after the shooting. Zavala, she added, appeared to have died instantly.
She was outside smoking a cigarette when she heard what sounded like a gunshot, she said.
As she approached the corner, she heard the sound of men yelling, and heard Sua say, ‘My kids were in the car,’ she said.
“I heard (Sua’s) wife say, ‘He has a gun,'” she said.
The two men walked down the street with the SUV close behind.
“The man with the gun pointed it at him and pushed it at his chest,” Hagen said.
“If you’re not going to use it, put it away,” Hagen recalled Sua yelling as he pushed the gunman to the ground.
The gunman got up and pointed the weapon a second time, but Sua pushed him to the floor again, she said.
After getting up again, Zavala cocked his gun and shot Sua in the chest before shooting himself in the head, Hagen said.
Zavala’s family members said they do not believe he would have gotten into a confrontation if he did not feel threatened.
Ana Zavala, George Zavala’s sister, set up a small memorial of candles and flowers, which was next to another memorial in remembrance of Sua.
“How do you know (George Zavala) wasn’t the victim?” she asked. “It’s unfair to blame him for something they don’t know.”
She doubts her brother got into a confrontation without being provoked or fearing for his own safety. She didn’t know why he carried a gun.
“He was very loving, happy, and always there to help everybody,” Ana Zavala said. “He was very outgoing and a provider for his family.”
George Zavala’s other sister, Vanessa Zavala, 18, described her brother as a “good person” but also mentioned that George Zavala had been getting in arguments with his wife since New Year’s Eve.
Sua’s family members were not available to comment, but one of the Sua family’s neighbors, Mariana Romano, 54, said David Sua was a “good neighbor and good man.”
“We are very sad,” Romano said of her family. “We talk to their family and he is a good man.”
Romano said Sua cared for his children and always worked on his truck.
Raul Santana said he had lived next to the Sua family for more than six years.
“He was a really nice man,” Santana said. “Everybody loved him. He was a good father and husband. His family’s nice, too.”
“We’re really going to miss him,” Santana added. “Everybody is sad.”
The communities along the 60 Freeway, often referred to as the Valinda Corridor, have been rocked by violence this year. Deputies since March have responded to about 30 shootings in the area, according to newspaper archives and statistics from the sheriff’s Industry Station.
On Friday, a 17-year-old boy walking at 2:30 p.m. on the 17400 block of Tadmore Street in East Valinda was shot and wounded by men who drove up in a car, authorities said. The shooting was probably gang related, they said.
The shooting was about one mile south of Thursday’s alleged murder-suicide.