Police have identified a suspect in connection with a series of random killings Sunday morning in the San Fernando Valley.
Alex Hernandez, 34, was arrested on an unrelated animal cruelty charge after an hours-long standoff with SWAT. He was accused of shooting and killing two dogs on a street a day earlier. Authorities took Hernandez into custody after a brief struggle at a home on Polk Street near Gladstone Avenue in Sylmar Sunday night.
He was being held on $1 million bail.
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“The victims suffered from gunshot wounds from a shotgun and so they were linking both of them when they were writing a warrant for this individual,” said Officer Liliana Preciado of the LAPD.
Investigators consider Hernandez, a documented gang member, a suspect in three separate shootings, which left three people dead and four others wounded Sunday. Police connected the suspect to the cases after responding to the standoff and found a vehicle matching the description of the suspect's vehicle in the weekend shootings.
“The public can rest at ease at this point, there was no other suspect in this crime spree,” Preciado said. “We don't see any connections with any satanic rituals or any type of religious involvement at this point. Unfortunately it was just three random killings.”
Police were also looking into the possibility that Hernandez was involved in a car-to-car shooting in Atwater Village Wednesday that left a woman hospitalized and the fatal shooting of a man who was driving to work in Pacoima on Thursday.
The three people killed on Sunday were all found within a five mile radius, police said.
A man and two women were killed and four other people were wounded in shootings that happened in a span of 55 minutes and within a 5-mile radius in the San Fernando Valley early Sunday.
The first shooting happened at 5:50 a.m. when a 20-year-old woman was fatally shot in the 1400 block of Celis Street in San Fernando, Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Frank Preciado said.
The woman was with her parents and twin siblings on their way to early morning mass when someone came up and shot at them.
All five members of the family were struck by gunfire. Police said the twins were injured and the mother and father were in critical condition following the shooting.
The second shooting happened at 6:35 a.m. in the 13000 block of Borden Avenue in Sylmar. A man between 25 and 35 years old was shot dead while walking near the Sylmar Recreational Center.
Ten minutes later, a third shooting was reported in the 1200 block of Filmore Street in Pacoima. A Hispanic woman in her late 50s was shot in the head, police said.
Lolita Lopez contributed to this report.