In the past few days, there has been a “shooting spree” in West Hollywood and San Fernando. Los Angeles Police detectives are convinced that only one suspect is responsible for the shootings.
According to a police report, on Friday, August 22 around 11 p.m. in West Hollywood, detectives were called to a scene where people heard “shots fired” at the intersection of Gardner Street and Santa Monica Boulevard.
While the victims were driving, they noticed that there was a gold colored Chevrolet SUV pulled up next to them on the passenger side. They said there was only one Hispanic male in the car, and he kept looking at the them. Soon after, they lost sight of the SUV, until they realized that it was trailing right behind them with the headlights off. Once again, the SUV pulled up next to the victims’ car. This time, however, the man in the SUV pulled out a shotgun and fired three rounds. The car was totaled from the shooting, but none of the victims were harmed. The suspect fled from the scene.
That was only the beginning of the suspect’s shooting rampage. On Sunday, August 24, the same suspect is believed to have resumed in the early morning, as multiple victims were shot and three were killed within an hour.
The first shooting occurred around 6 a.m. According to KTLA5 News, a family of five was headed to church, when they were shot in their SUV. One of the female victims, 23, was shot and killed at the scene. Two other victims, who are believed to be the parents, are in critical condition. The other two victims, who were younger kids, remained unharmed. “I heard shots…and I looked out the window, and then I saw a man right there that was bleeding. The SUV went right by and they shot them. So they took her out, poor thing…she was dead,” said a witness, Pauline Gaitain, who lives in the area.
Then, about 45 minutes later, another shooting occurred at the Sylmar Recreational Center in the 13000 block of Borden Avenue. The victim was a 29-year-old Hispanic male who was collecting bottles and cans when he was shot and killed at the scene. Another 10 minutes later, a 50-year-old Hispanic woman, was shot and killed in the 12900 block of Fillmore Street. Detectives stated that all of the shootings involved a suspect with a shotgun in a gold colored SUV.
Later that night, at around 8:30 p.m., Los Angeles Police detectives found a “person of interest” and arrested Alexander Hernandez, 34, at his home in Sylmar, just north of West Hollywood and San Fernando. After the arrest, detectives searched his house, and ended up recovering a shotgun. The arrest made, however, was not for the shooting spree.
Ironically enough, on Saturday, the day prior to the shooting spree, detectives were called to a scene where two dogs had been shot and killed at a residence in the San Fernando Valley. Investigators noticed that the description of the SUV from the shooting spree was similar to the SUV involved with the shooting of the two dogs.
According to the LA Times, “The pet owners told police the man identified himself only by first name, Alex, said the sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the investigation.” On Sunday morning, detectives used a surveillance camera on Hernandez’s house to look for clues. As it turns out, they were able to determine that his SUV had duct tape around a side mirror. That gave an indication that the mirror was damaged, potentially by gunfire.
There seems to be direct and indirect evidence that the suspect, Hernandez, was the only one involved in the shooting sprees and the killings of the two dogs. Hernandez has not been charged in the shooting spree, but the evidence definitely points towards him.
Hernandez also has a history of getting in trouble with the law, as he has been involved in three other incidents. In 2004, he was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and an unregistered .22-caliber handgun. Two years later, he pleaded no contest for possession of meth and a firearm, this time a shotgun. Then recently, on June 16, Hernandez was arrested for assault. However, the charge was dropped, as there were no independent witnesses.
Hernandez is currently being held on a $1 million bail.