During the very early morning hours of November 11, 2013, in what had seemed like a celebratory, happy night but ended in tragedy, youth pastor Daniel Diaz, 33, was shot and killed at around 1 a.m in south Pomona.
According to the Pomona Police, prior to the shooting that night, Diaz and his friend had taken three teenage boys to a movie in honor of Diaz’s birthday and one of the boy’s graduation from the church youth program. After the movie, Diaz and his friend were taking the teenagers home. Diaz was sitting in the passenger seat.
They dropped the first teenager off at a residence on Mayfair Avenue in Pomona. As they were driving away from the residence, the vehicle stopped at the intersection of Mayfair and Park Avenue because they were looking for directions to the next house. Moments later, an armed suspect walked up to the passenger side of the vehicle, pulled out a gun, and shot Diaz four times. Nobody else was shot, as the suspect fled the scene.
Homicide detectives were trying to find leads soon after the shooting, but were unable to find any sort of evidence of who the suspect might have been. Despite having four witnesses, the case went cold, and it took nearly two years to identify a suspect.
Recently, investigators received new information and evidence about the murder that led them to their suspect. On Thursday, September 3, Pomona police arrested Arvin Benson, 27, for the murder of Daniel Diaz nearly two years ago.
According to Pomona police, the motive for Diaz’s killing may have been gang related. Although Diaz was not in a gang, he was Latino, which may have led to his being targeted. The crime occurred during the year that Pomona’s violence was at it’s highest in recent memory, and included 29 homicides in 2013. Many of those homicides were a result of rivalries between black and Latino gangs.
Pomona Lt. Hector Rodriguez put the motive in perspective by stating “The suspect in this case is black and the victim, Hispanic. He saw this vehicle pulled up, saw a clear opportunity and took it.”
Benson is currently being held on a $2 million bail. His court date has been set for September 29th.