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3 arrests made in random shooting spree that left 4 dead in Cudahy

A third suspect, described only as a male juvenile, was arrested in connection with a shooting spree that left four people dead, including a 14-year-old boy, in southeastern Los Angeles County, sheriff’s officials said Friday.

According to the sheriff’s department, the unidentified juvenile suspect was arrested Thursday night in Compton. No other details were released. According to the LASD, the juvenile’s case will be presented to the District Attorney’s Office for consideration of charges. The juvenile’s exact alleged role in the shootings was unclear.

Gary Garcia Jr., 42, and Timberland Wayne McKneely, 20, were charged Thursday with four counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the spree that began Sunday night and stretched into Monday morning. The two are set to be arraigned Feb. 29 in a Norwalk courtroom on the charges, which include the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and shooting from a motor vehicle causing death.

The suspects are “alleged to have embarked on a random and brutal shooting spree in Bell, Huntington Park, Cudahy and unincorporated areas of L.A. County,” District Attorney George Gascón told reporters Thursday.

“They (the victims) all appear to have been targeted randomly as they merely moved about their daily life,” the district attorney said, calling it a “random shooting spree that shook the foundation and sense of safety of our community.”

Garcia and McKneely could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted as charged, according to Gascón.

The first shooting occurred around 11:30 p.m. Sunday in the 6500 block of Bear Avenue in Bell, authorities said. That shooting left 24-year-old Kevin Parada dead. A 29-year-old man was also fired upon, but was not injured, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Shortly after midnight, another fatal shooting occurred Monday in the 1500 block of East Florence Avenue in the nearby unincorporated Florence-Firestone area. That victim, described as a 27-year-old Hispanic man, was not immediately identified.

Two boys — both Hispanic — were shot a short time later in the 5000 block of Live Oak Street near Ellen Ochoa Learning Center in Cudahy. One of them, 14-year-old Javier Pedraza Jr. of Cudahy, was pronounced dead at the scene. The second boy — a 13-year-old — was taken in what was described as stable condition to a hospital.

The fourth shooting occurred at about 2:40 a.m. Monday in the 6300 block of Santa Fe Avenue in Huntington Park, near Gage Avenue, officials said. That man, also Hispanic, was not immediately identified, but Huntington Park Police Department Chief Cosme Lozano said he was known to be a local homeless man who was “simply walking down the street.”

According to LASD’s Homicide Bureau Capt. Andrew Meyer, sheriff’s homicide investigators responded to all four shooting scenes, and surveillance video quickly determined that a Honda Pilot SUV was at each location around the time of the attacks.

A vigil for 14-year-old Javier Pedraza Jr. of Cudahy displays a photo of the young victim along with loving messages from his family.

Sheriff’s officials circulated a law enforcement bulletin, and the vehicle was spotted and stopped Monday afternoon by San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies, and one suspect — believed to be Garcia — was arrested and booked on suspicion of murder, Meyer said.

Investigators were then able to identify the second suspect, who was arrested by a sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau team early Tuesday morning in Compton, according to Meyer.

He said investigators believe the suspects are gang members, but there was no immediate word on a motive for the killings.

Meyer said then that a third suspect may have also been involved in the attacks, but there was no immediate information available on that person’s description.

The district attorney declined to comment on any other potential suspects, saying it is an “ongoing investigation and there may be further developments.”

L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn said it has been “a painful four days” for those in the area.

“The communities are still shaken by the terror created by this senseless rampage,” she said, lauding the sheriff’s department and Bell and Huntington Park police departments for working around the clock “to solve this terrible crime and quickly protect the community.”

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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