Detectives were looking into the possibility an El Monte man accidentally shot his daughter Tuesday before intentionally shooting her girlfriend to death and committing suicide, officials said.
Harry Maldonado, 65, is believed to be the gunman who fatally shot his daughter, 32-year-old Evie Maldonado, and her girlfriend, 38-year-old Diana Amaya, about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday before turning the handgun on himself, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials.
The three, who lived together in a condominium in the 9900 block of Marshal Street, became involved in an argument inside the home’s garage when the shooting took place, Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Detectives suspected the triple-fatal shooting may have started as an accident when Harry Maldonado brandished a semi-automatic handgun during an argument. The first person shot was his daughter.
“It could have been an accidental discharge,” Hernandez said. But then shots that rang out next were not believed to be accidental.
“He definitely intentionally shot (Amaya) and himself,” the lieutenant said.
It was unclear what the group was arguing about when the shooting occurred, he added.
Evie Maldonado and Amaya, who had been dating about 8 years, “had a tumultuous relationship.” Hernandez said.
A 21-year-old daughter of Amaya witnessed a great deal of the incident and was able to provide a description of what took place, Hernandez said.
Amaya’s daughter tried to intervene, striking Harry Maldonado with a broom stick, Amaya’s nephew, Eddie Ordonez said. He added he believed the gunman may have tried to shoot Amaya first, but missed, fatally wounding his daughter instead.
But with both the suspect and victims dead, Hernandez said exactly what unfolded on Marshall Street Tuesday night may never be known.
Friends said they were puzzled over how Harry Maldonado, who they described as calm and peaceful, could be responsible for the shooting. He was a former Marine who served two combat tours in Vietnam, Hernandez said.
Family members gathered at the Maldonado home Wednesday declined to comment.
Amaya is survived by four daughters and a son, Ordonez said.
“We’re taking it as a family really hard,” he said.
“If anyone ever knew Diana Amaya, they would know how special and one of kind she was,” Ordonez said in a written statement. “She would give the shirt off her back to help anyone in need and never ask for anything in return. Her laugh filled the room and was so contagious that everyone who heard couldn’t help but smile.”
“Her passing was too soon and she will forever be in the hearts of those who loved her,” the nephew said. “As a family, we stand together in this time of mourning and sorrow. We find strength and solace in the memories we have, and this will never be taken from us. Rest in Peace, Nana. We love and miss you.”
Donations to help with cost of Amaya’s services are being accepted online at www.gofundme.com/4uji0s.
PHOTO – Diane Amaya, 38, of El Monte, pictured with her five children. (Courtesy)
Trial was underway Thursday for a Whittier man and a West Covina man accused of the gang-related slaying of one man and the attempted murder of another along a set of railroad tracks in Santa Fe Springs in late 2009, officials said.
Erick Rodriguez, now-22, of Whittier and Jose Zapata, now-21, of Whittier are accused of the Dec. 8, 2009 killing of 18-year-old Jonathan Gonzalez of Corning, along with the non-fatal shooting of then-19-year-old Julio Serrano of Whittier, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Officials and court documents. Rodriguez, who was 17 at the time of the crime, is being tried as an adult.
Jury trial for the men began Wednesday in Norwalk Superior Court with jury selection, which continued Thursday, court officials said.
In addition to the charges, the two defendants are accused of the special allegations that both men personally fired handguns in the crime, and that the shooting was gang-related.
The shooting took place about 12:20 a.m. along a secluded section of railroad tracks just west of the 8900 block of Dice road in Santa Fe Springs, Whittier police Officer Mike Dekowski said at the time.
Gonzalez died at the scene of the shooting, officials said. Serrano was found wounded nearby.
The following afternoon, investigators identified Rodriguez and Zapata as suspects in the shooting and arrested them in the 8600 block of Alburtis Avenue in an unincorporated county area just west of Whittier, police said.
According to county booking records, Rodriguez was being held without bail, while Zapata was being held in lieu of $2 million bail.
PASADENA — A house with an elderly man sleeping inside was struck by bullets in an early-morning shooting Sunday, police said.
No injuries were reported in the 3 a.m. shooting in the 100 block of East Peoria Street. Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said. The elderly resident was not even aware his home had been shot up until police notified him.
No suspect description was available, and the motive was unclear.
PASADENA — A man suffered a gunshot wound in a shooting early Sunday, but refused to cooperate with police investigating the attack, officials said.
Officers responded to reports of “shots fired” about 1:20 a.m. when they encountered a 30-year-old man in the 600 block of Palisade Street who had been shot in the torso, Pasadena police Lt. Jason Clawson said.
“He was taken to a local area hospital in stable condition. He’s expected to survive,” Clawson said.
But no information regarding the shooter or circumstances of the shooting were available.
“He was uncooperative. He refused to provide information regarding the incident,” the lieutenant said.
There was a party being held nearby, however it was unclear if the shooting was related to it, he added. Those at the party said they knew nothing of the shooting.
A valet died and a security guard was wounded early Sunday when a man angered over being kicked out of a Pico Rivera nightclub returned with a gun and opened fire, authorities said.
Three men and two women were arrested in connection with the 2:39 a.m. shooting outside the El Rodeo nightclub, 8825 Washington Blvd., Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said. Those in custody included the alleged shooter, as well as four others who accompanied him at the time of the shooting.
Paramedics took the wounded valet to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 7:51 a.m., coroner’s Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said. His name was not available pending positive identification and notification of family members, however sheriff’s officials initially described him as being in his mid- to late-20s.
The wounded security guard was hospitalized in stable condition, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Officials described the security guard as a man in his mid- to late-30s.
Shortly before the shooting, “A group of people was kicked out of the club for being disruptive,” Corina said. Some members of the group were believed to be drunk.
The group left, but returned a short time later, nearly 40 minutes after the club’s 2 a.m. closing time, the lieutenant said. But club staff would not allow them back in.
“They got into an argument with the security guard and the valet,” he said.
The alleged shooter retrieved a handgun from his car and opened fire, striking the two men, Corina said. He then began running west along Washington Boulevard.
“Luckily, we had some deputies just seconds away,” he said. Club security pointed out the fleeing gunman to the deputies, who caught him after a brief foot chase.
A handgun was found tossed beneath a car in the club’s parking lot, Corina said.
Two men and two women who had been with the shooter were arrested in the parking lot, he added.
The suspects’ names were not initially available.
The shooting took place on the west side of the building and was captured on surveillance video, Corina said. The video was not publicly released.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are leading the investigation, and anyone with information can reach the bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips can also be given anonymously via the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
WEST COVINA — A car was struck by bullets in a shooting Tuesday afternoon, however no injuries were reported, police said.
Witnesses reported hearing shots fired about 3:15 p.m. in the 2400 block of E. James Avenue, West Covina police Lt. David Lee said.
Responding officers discovered a car that had several bullet holes in it, but no signs of a shooting victim, he said.
Several vehicles were reported to have been seen leaving the area shortly after the shooting, however it was not clear Thursday whether they were involved, Lee said.
No description of the shooter was available.
NORWALK — A man suffered a gunshot wound to the leg in a confrontation in a residential neighborhood late Tuesday, authorities said.
A 32-year-old man was walking about 9:15 p.m. in 11900 block of Nava Street, three blocks west of Norwalk Boulevard, when he was approached by two attackers described only as male, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Bill Evans said.
There was an exchange of words before one of the assailants opened fire, striking the man in the leg, Evans said.
The wounded man was taken to an area hospital with an injury not considered to be life-threatening, the lieutenant said.
The two attackers were last seen fleeing the area in a beige or silver Toyota Camry, he said. Investigators suspected the shooting was gang-related.
WEST WHITTIER — Authorities Wednesday released the name of a West Whittier father who was shot to death over the weekend in the front yard of his own home.
Arturo Roque, 45, died at a hospital shortly after he was wounded in the 10:06 p.m. shooting in the 6100 block of Pioneer Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Roque was not a gang member, however detectives suspect his killer or killers were, Lt. John Corina of the Sheirff’s Homicide Bureau said.
“According to several witnesses, the victim, along with his wife and another couple, were in the front yard of the victim’s residence when a white-colored sedan drove north on Pioneer Boulevard,” according to Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. The vehicle was further described as a compact car.
“As the car drove past the victim’s house, someone from inside the car shot at the individuals standing in the front yard, striking the victim,” he said. Roque was struck multiple times by the gunfire. None of the others were injured.
No argument or exchange of words preceded the shooting, Corina said.
“He was standing with his wife and another couple that was visiting,” the lieutenant said. “They were just hanging out for the holiday weekend.”
No description of the attacker or attackers inside the car was available.
While Roque himself was not involved with a gang, Corina said one of his relatives was believed to be. Detectives were looking into the possibility that the relative’s suspected gang ties were involved in the shooting.
A person from the neighborhood, who did not give his name for fear of retaliation, said Roque was a soft-spoken, responsible man who worked as a gardener. “He was a father of five children, the youngest, a teenager, and he took care of his family,” he said. “I was crushed when I found out (about Roque); he loved his family and was trying to raise (his kids) to grow up to be good citizens.”
The neighbor said Roque mowed most of the neighbors’ lawns and worked from dawn to dusk. “I have nothing but nice things to say about him,” he said.
According to public records, Rogue had lived in the home for 10 years.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
- Brian Day and Venusse Navid
PHOTO of flowers marking scene of fatal shooting by Venusse Navid
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
PASADENA — Police investigated reports of gunfire early Wednesday but did not find any victims, officials said.
Officers responded to reports of “shots fired” about 1:30 a.m. in the 2000 block of El Sereno Avenue, Pasadena police Lt. Tom Delgado said.
A bullet casing was found in the street, but officers did not find anything or anyone that had been struck by the gunfire, the lieutenant said.
WEST WHITTIER — A 45-year-old West Whittier man died after being shot while in the front yard of his own home late Sunday, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials.
The victim was with his wife and another couple at 10:06 p.m. Sunday in the 6100 block of Pioneer Boulevard when he was shot by someone in a passing white sedan, according to a written statement issued by the sheriff’s department.
The victim is not believed to have been a gang member, though the shooting appears to have been gang-related, officials said.