PANORAMA CITY—The LAPD has caught one suspect while actively searching for the other after a Panorama City medical marijuana clinic turned into a crime scene with the shooting death of 25-year-old Alex Moran. The April 12th capture of 22-year-old Raul Benitez came a little under a month after the March 17th murder.
“Detectives had a tip where Benitez would be and were waiting for him,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division. “But when he didn’t stop, we followed him into Burbank, then took him into custody.”
The search continues for the second suspect involved in the shooting, Santiago “Ya Ya” Gutierrez. According to an LAPD press release, the incident began when Benitez and Gutierrez got into a confrontation with a rival gang member in a marijuana clinic located at 13551 Roscoe Place. Moran was waiting in a car in the driver’s seat when the man the suspects had confronted entered the vehicle on the passenger’s side. After Benitez and Gutierrez left the clinic, they approached the car and shot Moran three times.
In addition to Gutierrez, LAPD detectives are still searching for the murder weapon used during the shooting. Following Benitez’s arrest, police searched three different locations, turning up little more than a number of illegal fighting roosters (which were turned over to Animal Services.)
“This was a cold-blooded gang shooting, nothing less,” said Lt. Vernon. “Now we need someone to step up and tell us where Gutierrez and the murder weapon is.”
Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Detective Ryan Verna, Mission Homicide Unit, at (818) 838-9976. Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.
The Guardian Express: Los Angeles: Raul Benitez arrested for shooting outside Medical Marijuana clinic
Daily News: Panorama City homicide nets arrest, 2nd suspect sought