WEST WHITTIER >> A man died after he was shot outside a family gathering in West Whittier on Saturday night, authorities said.
The deadly shooting was reported about 7:55 p.m. in the 10300 block of Lock Avon Drive in the unincorporated county area, according to Deputy Kimberly Alexander of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau.
The victim, described as a 30-year-old man, was attending a family gathering when the shooting took place, Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez said in a written statement.
“The victim was standing in the front driveway of the residence when he was shot in the upper torso by an unknown assailant,” she said.
He succumbed to his injuries several hours later at a hospital, officials said.
“Although witnesses reported hearing two gunshots, there is no suspect description at this time,” Navarro-Suarez said.
No further details were available.
The victim’s identity was not released Sunday pending positive identification and notification of family by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
Anyone with information is urged to call the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
MONROVIA >> Determined homicide investigators and devastated family members reached out to the public on Thursday to help find the gunman who killed one teenager and wounded another in an attack inside a Monrovia garage last month.
Eighteen-year-old Canyon Oaks High School senior Oscar Andrew Garcia died in the late-night shooting on April 22 in the detached garage of a back house in the 100 block of West Cypress Street, just west of Myrtle Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said.
A 17-year-old boy was wounded in the shooting, and a teenage girl escaped injury.
Garcia and the other shooting victim did not live at the home, but were visiting the girl when the shooting took place, officials said.
“All three entered the garage and were hanging out as most teenagers do,” Lt. Joe Mendoza of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. “Suddenly, and without provocation, the suspect appeared at the garage door and pointed a handgun toward them. A brief verbal exchange occurred and the suspect opened fire.”
Detectives declined to discuss what words were spoken in the moments before the shooting.
Paramedics pronounced Garcia dead at the scene. “His male friend was struck by gunfire but miraculously survived his injuries,” Mendoza said.
Following the shooting, the gunman fled through an alley running behind the property, according to officials.
In hopes of generating leads in the investigation, authorities released a composite sketch of the suspect.
The killer is described as a Latino man between 20 and 25 years old, about 6 feet tall, of medium build, Mendoza said. He had a light complexion, brown eyes, short black hair and a goatee, and he wore a black baseball cap with an unknown logo emblazoned on it.
The motive in the shooting remained a mystery, and detectives knew of no reason anyone would target Garcia or his friends, Mendoza said.
While it appeared the garage in which the victims were hanging out was targeted by the shooter, “We don’t believe the victims were the targets of the assault,” Mendoza said. Investigators had not ruled out the possibility of mistaken identity.
Garcia was scheduled to graduate high school in June, Mendoza said. He then planned to study photography at Pasadena City College.
The young man was a lifelong Monrovia resident.
“He enjoyed skateboarding, taking photos, attending church with family and he played soccer for his high school team,” the lieutenant said.
Garcia was often seen holding up two fingers in a “peace” sign, his mother, Guadalupe Castaneda said.
“It’s been so hard for me and my family. We miss Oscar,” she said. “He loved his family, loved his friends. He would always go to extra mile to help others. He didn’t deserve to end this way, or any other way.”
“My son was an excellent kid. He loved skateboarding. That was his passion. That’s how he met a lot of friends,” Castaneda said. “He touched everyone in the community.”
Castaneda and Mendoza both implored anyone with information on the case, or anyone who recognized the composite sketch of the suspect, to come forward.
“No family deserved to go through this,” Castaneda said. “Please, please, someone knows something… don’t be afraid. Love has to overcome all of this. No violence please.”
In addition to his mother, Garcia is survived by five siblings, nieces and a nephew.
Donations to benefit Garcia’s family are being collected online at www.gofundme.com/oscar-garcia-funeral-memorial.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SUSPECT SKETCH/VICTIM PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Prosecutors filed a murder charge, 14 attempted murder charges and other allegations on Thursday and a man and woman they say embarked on a random shooting spree in the Whittier area over the weekend that left one man dead and three others wounded.
Alejandro Lazo, 21, and his girlfriend Reyna Gomez, 26, both of Whittier, who themselves were shot and wounded under mysterious circumstances following Saturday’s mobile rampage, have previously been considered “persons of interest,” in the series of violent crimes. Both suspects are self-described gang members with criminal records.
But Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau Capt. Christopher Bergner announced Thursday that the couple has been formally arrested in connection with the crime spree.
And the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed one count of murder, 14 counts of attempted murder and one count of carjacking against each defendant, according to district attorney’s office spokesman Greg Risling. Gomez was additionally charged with torture for allegedly shooting a man in the groin during the bizarre attacks that unfolded in Whittier, La Mirada and Pico Rivera.
There was no known motive or explanation for the rampage, Bergner said.
“These were senseless acts of violence, acts committed on innocent people that were merely enjoying the day, running errands, in what they believed to be a safe area,” the captain said. “The individuals that were victims of this crime, these were random targets of violence that were unprovoked.”
The investigation continues, and detectives are seeking additional suspects believed to have played roles in portions of Saturday’s crime spree, Bergner said. He declined to comment further regarding any outstanding suspects.
In addition, “They’re also reviewing similar crimes in the area to see of the suspects were also involved in any additional crimes that we haven’t yet reported,” Bergner said.
The spate of violence began about 1 p.m. Saturday in the 10000 block of Carmenita Road in South Whittier, where a man was wounded in the leg in a drive-by shooting. The attackers, later identified as Lazo and Gomez, were in a white Kia Rio when they carried out the Carmenita Road shooting.
The suspect turned up again about 2:15 p.m. in the 11100 block of Rosehedge Drive in Pico Rivera, where they carjacked a man at gunpoint and fled in his green Nissan Pathfinder SUV, Deputy Lilian Peck of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. The victim was unhurt.
Just over an hour later, another shooting linked to the couple was reported behind a Starbucks coffee shop at Whittier Boulevard and Colima Road, Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis said. Gomez is accused of shooting a man in the groin from as he walked down the street, resulting in the torture charge filed against her, officials said. The victim, a man in his 50s, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The suspects then headed down Colima Road in the carjacked Pathfinder and opened fire at two motorists who were stopped at a traffic light near Lambert Road, Peck said. No one was injured in the car-to-car attacks.
The shooters continued south to Imperial Highway and La Mirada Boulevard, where they shot a man in the arm as he was sitting in a car about 4 p.m., according to Peck.
“Norwalk Sheriff’s Station deputies responded to the La Mirada shooting but quickly learned another shooting occurred just south of them, at the intersection of Santa Gertrudes Avenue and Alicante Road, La Mirada,” Peck said.
“The fourth victim, Jose Ricardo Sahagun, a 44-year-old father of two little boys, was struck multiple times with gunfire as he sat in his car, waiting at a traffic light. Other victims in nearby vehicles were also fired upon indiscriminately, but Jose cwas the only person injured and he was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Sahagun succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.
The search for the killers continued for more than two hours before deputies found the carjacked Nissan Pathfinder abandoned at Amelia Mayberry Park in South Whittier shortly after 6 p.m.,Peck said. “It was there the suspects unloaded the vehicle they used as a mobile gun turret,” she said.
But gunfire erupted again about 8 p.m., this time outside a motel in the 15000 block of Carmenita Road, authorities said. This time, it was the suspects who had been wounded in a shooting.
“Both suspects were shot in the torso and when they realized the gravity of their injuries, they flagged down a concerned citizen and asked her to dial 911 for them,” Peck said.
Lazo and Gomez were found sitting in the white Rio believed to have used in the first shooting of the spree, officials said. A gun was recovered from the car, and has since been linked to the numerous nearby crimes scenes, Bergner said.
The circumstance of the suspect’ shooting remains under investigation by the Whittier Police Department. No suspect description was available.
Family members of Sahagun thanked the police and God for the arrests in the slaying of their loved one, as well as the community for its outpouring of support.
The Compton social worker and former school teacher left behind a wife and two sons, ages 4 and 7.
“While this is a positive step toward justice and closure, there’s no reconciling of the fact that the taking of a n innocent life has devastated both our family, and the community,” Maria Del Rosario Sahagun.
Family members described Jose Sahagun as an example for the community.
A fund to benefit Jose Sahagun has been set up online at www.gofundme.com/jose-ricardo-sahagun.
A viewing for Jose Sahagun has been scheduled for 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdau at the All Souls Mortuary, 4400 Cherry Ave. in Long Beach.
A Mass will take place at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 8545 Norwalk Blvd. in Whittier, to be followed by burial at All Souls Cemetery in Long Beach.
Detectives described both Lazo and Gomez as self-identified gang members but declined to name the gang they belong to.
Both were released from jail late last year after serving time for prior convictions, officials said.
Los Angeles County court records show Lazo pleaded guilty to extortion and assault with a deadly weapon on Feb. 23, 2016. On the same date, he was also convicted of possession of methamphetamine on a separate case. He pleaded no contest to petty theft on Dec. 26. 2014.
Gomez pleaded no contest to possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia on July 6, 2015. She also pleaded no contest to possession of methamphetamine on July 9, 2015 and to possession of methamphetamine for sale on Jan. 8, 2014.
Gomez was convicted of assault likely to produce great bodily injury and possession of marijuana for sale on June 11, 2012.
She pleaded no contest to four counts of vandalism on Sept. 23, 2010 and one count of vandalism on Jan. 31, 2011. She was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon on Oct. 20, 2009.
According to county booking records, Lazo was being held without bail, while Gomez was being held in lieu of $12 million bail. They were scheduled to make their initial court appearance Friday in the Downey branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
If convicted as charged, the suspects could both spend the rest of their lives in prison.
PHOTOS: (crime scene map and picture of victim Jose Sahagun courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
PASADENA >> Police investigated three shootings in Pasadena over the weekend, but no injuries were reported.
The shootings took place during the early-morning hours on Saturday and Sunday, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
The first shooting took place about 1:55 a.m. on Saturday in the 1600 block of Kenneth Way.
Officers responded to reports of gunshots heard in the neighborhood when they spotted a car driving out of the area at high speed, according to the lieutenant.
Police stopped the car and found it had been struck by gunfire, Mercado said. But the two men and one woman inside were not injured.
“The occupants were uncooperative and did not provide the officers with any information,” he said.
Evidence, including broken glass from a shattered window of the victims’ car, led police to the shooting scene on Kenneth Way.
Police then received a flood of 911 calls about 12:30 a.m. on Sunday reporting shots fired along North Garfield Avenue, Mercado said. Officers found evidence of a shooting in the 1900 block of North Garfield Avenue, but encountered no suspects or victims.
And more gunfire was reported about 3:10 a.m. Sunday in the 100 block of West Montana Street, where a parked car was struck by bullets.
No witnesses to the shooting were found, and no further details were available.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241.
A man and woman were found shot in a stolen car in the parking lot of a Santa Fe Springs motel late Saturday, four hours after a shooting rampage that left one man dead and another wounded in Whittier and La Mirada, officials said.
The man and woman wounded in the Santa Fe Springs shooting were being held on suspicion of auto theft and gun possession Sunday as detectives continued investigating whether they were connection to the earlier shooting spree, according to Whittier police and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials. Their identities were not released.
The couple matched the general description of the man and woman being sought in connection with the spate of shootings, Sgt. Vincent Plair of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement. The suspect description has not been disclosed.
“It is unclear whether the detained individuals are the suspects in the earlier shooting,” Plair said. “Homicide Bureau investigators are following up on all possible leads and working with Whittier Police Department to solve these crimes.
“As of now there have not been any arrests made in connection with these incidents,” he said.
Officers responded to reports of “shots fired” at 8 p.m. at the Budget Inn, 13420 Firestone Blvd., according to Whittier police Sgt. Ramos, who declined to give his first name.
The circumstances of the shooting were unknown and no suspect description was available, Ramos said.
Both the man and woman were taken to the University of Southern California, Irvine Medical Center for treatment, the sergeant said.
The woman was shot once, he said. Her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
The man suffered multiple gunshot wounds. An update on his condition was not available.
Police soon learned that the car the man and woman were in had been reported stolen, Whittier police Lt. Brian Ellis said. Officers also recovered a gun from the couple.
Without a suspect description, it was unclear whether the shooting was related to a spate of three shootings in Whittier and La Mirada Saturday afternoon that left one man dead and another man wounded.
The violence began about 3 p.m. with a carjacking carried out by a man and woman in Pico Rivera, according to sheriff’s officials.
The carjacked Nissan Pathfinder showed up at a Starbucks coffee shop at Whittier Boulevard and Colima Road in Whittier about 30 minutes later, Ellis said.
The suspects opened fire on a man in his 50s in an alley to the rear of the coffee shop. He was wounded in the leg.
Within minutes, the occupants of the SUV again opened fire at the intersection of Colima and Lambert roads, Ellis said. A car was struck, but the people inside were unhurt.
A third shooting believed to involve the same carjacked SUV and suspects unfolded about 4 p.m. at Santa Gertrudes Avenue and Alicante Road in La Mirada, sheriff’s officials said.
The victim, 44-year-old Jose Shagun of Norwalk, succumbed to his injuries at the University of California Medical Center, Irvine, at 4:51 p.m., according to Orange County coroner’s records.
Deputies found the Nissan SUV believed to have been used in the three shootings shortly after 6 p.m., abandoned at Amelia Mayberry Park in South Whittier.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
One man died and several other people were wounded in a string of shootings in the Whittier, La Mirada and Norwalk areas on Saturday afternoon which were believed to linked to the same carjacked car, authorities said.
The attacks took place beginning about 3:30 p.m. in the jurisdictions of the Whittier Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Norwalk Station, according to Whittier police and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials. A man died at a hospital following one of the shootings in La Mirada, officials said.
The series of crimes was believed to have begun with the carjacking of a dark green or black Nissan Pathfinder SUV in the Pico Rivera area about 3 p.m., officials said.
The vehicle was occupied by a man and a woman, both armed with guns, when it pulled through the rear alley of a Starbucks coffee shop at Whittier Boulevard and Colima Road about 3:30 p.m., Whittier police Lt. Brian Ellis said. A man in his 50s was walking in the alley.
“The suspects pulled up to him and shot him in the leg,” Ellis said. The victim was treated for injuries not believed to be life threatening.
There was no apparent motive for the attack, which appeared to be random, he said.
The SUV then headed south on Colima Road, where the attackers opened fire on another car at Colima Road and Lambert Road, according to Ellis. The victim’s car was struck, but no one inside was injured.
The SUV was last seen heading west on Lambert Road following the car-to-car shooting.
The same SUV is believed to be linked to a fatal shooting about 30 minutes later in La Mirada, Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
A man was shot and mortally wounded about 4 p.m. at Santa Gertrudes Avenue and Alicante Road, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“The victim was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead,” according to the statement.
Deputies were also looking into possible additional shootings.
“There are additional shootings in the surrounding areas involving multiple victims,” the sheriff’s department statement said. “The number of victims, as well as their conditions are unknown at this time. There is no additional information available at this time, and the investigation is ongoing.”
Deputies found the SUV believed to have been used in the shootings parked, unoccupied, at Mayberry Park in South Whittier shortly after 6 p.m., officials said. But the suspects remained at large.
The spate of violence followed another shooting in unincorporated South Whittier early Saturday afternoon in which a man was wounded.
A man was shot in the leg about 12:45 p.m. along Carmenita Road, just north of Telegraph Road, sheriff’s Sgt. Jose Nevarez said.
It was unclear whether the earlier afternoon shooting had any connection to the spate of shootings that occurred later in the afternoon.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
SOUTH WHITTIER >> A man suffered a gunshot wound to his leg in a drive-by attack in South Whittier on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
The shooting took place about 12:45 p.m. in the rear alley of an apartment copmlex in the 10000 block of Carmentia Road, between Telegraph Road and Laurel Avenue, in the unincorporated county area, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jose Navarez said.
Deputies responded to several 911 calls reporting a drive-by shooting and encountered the victim, described only as a man, wounded in the leg, the sergeant said. He was taken to a hospital for treatment and was expected to recover.
His attackers were described as two to three Latino men in a small, white car, Nevarez said.
The wounded man did not appear to be cooperating with investigators, he said. The motive was unclear, and no further details were available.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
DUARTE >> A car-to-car shooting in an unincorporated county area near Duarte on Friday afternoon left one vehicle riddled with bullets, but no injuries were reported, officials said.
The shooting took place about 3:45 p.m. in the area of California Avenue and Camino Real Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Erick Martinez said. Two people were inside the car that was struck with a volley of gunfire, but both escaped injury.
“(The victims’) vehicle was parked on the side of the road. Another vehicle pulled up alongside of it, at which time a number of rounds were fired,” Martinez said. “The victims’ vehicle was struck six times.”
The shooter was believed to be a lone man in an older model, silver, four-door Nissan Sentra he said. The car was last seen heading west on Camino Real.
Sheriff’s gang detectives were handling the investigation into the attack.
Monrovia, Duarte and the unincorporated county area that separates them have seen at least 10 shootings since January, leaving four victims dead and five more wounded.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
DUARTE >> A man suffered a leg wound in a shooting in an unincorporated county area between Duarte and Monrovia on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
The shooting too place about 5 p.m. in the 2400 block of Lincoln Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Harris said.
Deputies responding to the incident encountered a man in his early-20s who had been shot in the lower calf with a large-caliber pistol bullet, the sergeant said. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.
The shooter fled the scene in a red sedan, the sergeant said. A detailed description of the attacker was not available.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Temple City Station at 626-285-7171. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
NORWALK >> Detectives are seeking the killer or killers of a 50-year-old man who was gunned down while soliciting charity donations in a residential Norwalk neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
The fatal shooting took place about 5:30 p.m. in the 14400 block of Dinard Avenue, according to Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Information Bureau.
“Detectives have learned that the victim was shot and killed while walking down the street going door-to-door soliciting to paint addresses on the curb-lines,” Schrader said in a written statement.
The man was wounded several times in the “upper torso,” Schrader said Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
Coroner’s officials did not formally identify the victim on Wednesday, however officials at the charity for which the man was working when he was shot identified him as Matthew Douglas Glover, 50, of Long Beach.
“Homicide detectives are actively searching for two male Hispanics in their early-20sm, driving a late-model, four-door, white sedan,” Deputy Carolina Rodriguez of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said. “Homicide detectives and the victim’s family are asking the public’s assistance in obtaining any information that will help solve this crime.”
The circumstances of the shooting remains a mystery.
Glover was collecting donations for the Whittier-based charity Care For The Children, according to organization director and founder, Robert Henderson.
Henderson said he’d been working with Glover on-and-off for the past 14 years, even before Care For The Children began in it’s current form in 2006. Glover moved back to Southern California, where he grew up, about two weeks ago after spending time staying with his parents in Arizona, where his mother recently died. He had been staying at a sober living house in Long Beach.
“Matt was one of those guys that the moment you started talking to him, you’d like him,” Henderson said. “He’d make you smile or laugh. He was charismatic. He was bubbly. He had that upbeat personality.”
Glover spend his mornings delivering food baskets to the elderly, then he spent evening collecting donations from address painting, according to Henderson. He enjoyed his work.
Glover was collecting donations after the organization previously re-painted the addresses on curb-sides on Dinard Avenue when the fatal shooting took place, Henderson said.
“He had just collected a donation. He was walking away from the door, he heard the gunshots being fired,” Henderson said.
Henderson said he did no understand why anyone would have targeted Glover, and wondered if the shooting was a robbery or a case of mistaken identity.
Glover is survived by an adult son, Henderson said.
“He was a great guy,” the employer said.
Funds to help Glover’s family with burial expenses are being collected online at www.gofundme.com/memorial-for-beloved-matthew-glover.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTO of Matthew Glover, courtesy.