san fernando valley

Suspect in Custody After Shooting Rampage That Left 4 Dead in San Fernando Valley

The suspect's father and brother were found dead in a Canoga Park apartment. A gas station employee was killed in North Hollywood

What to Know

  • The overnight crimes began with a double-fatal shooting at Canoga Park apartment
  • About an hour later, shots were fired at a North Hollywood gas station
  • The 26-year-old suspect in the shootings was taken into custody Thursday afternoon

A man accused of fatally shooting his father, brother and two other people in a crime rampage across Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley was captured Thursday afternoon after more than 13 hours on the run. 

Gerry Dean Zaragoza, 26, was taken into custody at 2 p.m. in the western part of the Valley after victims had been discovered injured and dead at an apartment, gas station, and on a public bus. Here is how developments played out Thursday. 

First Shooting

At about 1:20 a.m., police received a radio call reporting a shooting in the 2100 block of Roscoe Bouelvard in the West Hills area. Zaragosa was accused of gunning down his father and brother, ages 56 and 33, and also injuring his mother, according to the LAPD.

Carlos Zaragoza, 50, was allegedly fatally shot by his son Gerry Zaragoza on Thursday, July 25, 2019. Police also suspect Zaragoza in the killing of his brother and shooting of his mother.

Second Shooting

At 2:30 a.m., the suspect was accused of heading to a North Hollywood Shell gas station in the 6700 block of Vineland and fatally shooting a woman in her 30s, and a co-worker. Both the man and woman were taken to the hospital, and the man survived. Capt. William Hayes said the woman was his ex-girlfriend. 

A man allegedly shot and killed his father and brother, then gunning down a gas station employees. Toni Guinyard and Mekahlo Medina report for Today in LA on Thursday July 25, 2019.

Third Crime Scene

At 7:20 a.m., the suspect was accused of trying to rob a man in his 40s at a Bank of America ATM at Sherman Way and Topanga Boulevard, and was unsuccessful.

Fourth Shooting


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After the suspect boarded a bus, a fourth man was shot and killed seemingly at random, police said.

Hunter Shaw was riding on a bus with a woman who told her account of what she saw when the fourth victim was slain.

"She just heard this huge loud noise. This guy slumped over. This other guy in front of her got off the bus, went to the right, which is how everybody exits," Shaw said.

A cyclist, Harry Naylor, who came on scene moments after the gunfire said he saw a sweaty suspect exit the bus, then start running away.

"I didn't pay him any attention, but then I look on the bus, and there's a guy slumped over, dead in his seat," Naylor said. 

The LAPD declared a tactical alerting, meaning resources would be focused on the search for Zaragoza. After the Orange Line bus stop shooting, a large perimeter was set up at Victory Boulevard and Woodley Avenue in Van Nuys, and officers went door to door with guns drawn. 

The suspect was ultimately captured at Canoga and Gault at 2 p.m.

As the investigation unraveled Thursday, Michael Ramia, the boss of the suspect's father, said there were some warning signs.

"He told me his son was, like crazy. Not violent, but crazy," he said.

Ramia said the suspect's father had spoken often about his son's substance abuse problem, and he believes it may have played a role in the bizarre and terrifying shooting spree.

A motive remained unclear.

NBC4's Eric Leonard, Mekahlo Medina and Heather Navarro contributed to this report.

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