An ex-con who allegedly gunned down the mother of his child during a custody exchange outside the Hawthorne police station pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a capital murder charge.
Jacob Ryan Munn, 30, of Hawthorne, is accused in the April 7 slaying of Brenda Renteria, 28, of Simi Valley. The murder count includes the special circumstance allegation of murder while lying in wait, along with an allegation that he used a shotgun to kill the victim. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Munn, who is also charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.
He has a 2008 conviction for robbery, according to the criminal complaint. Munn left the child inside the police station for his ex-girlfriend to pick up and then allegedly shot and killed her as she approached the door.
"One of our officers was inside and rushed outside when he heard the gunfire," Lt. Gary Tomatani told City News Service. "Witnesses told the officer that the man who shot the woman was fleeing the scene. That's when an officer-involved shooting took place."
The suspect was not hit by the gunfire. Police tracked his car to the area of 133rd Street and Hawthorne Boulevard outside a Denny's restaurant, Tomatani said.
Officers -- assisted by SWAT and K-9 teams and colleagues from the Torrance, Manhattan Beach and Santa Monica police departments -- then set up a perimeter and brought in police dogs to look for the suspect, who was arrested nearly three hours later in the 4400 block of 134th Street.
The 17-month-old child involved in the custody exchange was safe and in police hands after the shooting. Munn was ordered held without bail while awaiting his next court appearance May 23 at the Airport Courthouse in Los Angeles.