A 25-year-old felon accused of opening fire at a gathering of friends in Gardena, killing a woman and injuring two other people before carjacking a married couple and fatally shooting the husband in Lynwood, pleaded not guilty Monday to capital murder and other charges.
Selvin Fabian Salazar appeared before a judge in Torrance to enter his plea to two counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and one count each of carjacking, kidnapping, dissuading a witness by force or threat and possession of a firearm by a felon. He was ordered to return to court Oct. 22, when a date is expected to be set for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.
The murder charges include the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders. Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty against Salazar.
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The criminal complaint includes allegations that he personally used and discharged a handgun, inflicted great bodily injury and death, committed the crime in association with a criminal street gang and had a prior felony conviction from 2011 for assault with a firearm.
The violence began around 4 a.m. July 31 at a mobile home park in the 1200 block of West 135th Street, near Normandie Avenue, where a group of friends had gathered.
Salazar became upset for unknown reasons during the gathering, according to a sheriff's lieutenant who spoke to reporters shortly after the shooting.
Salazar allegedly fired at a vehicle, striking and killing Dolores Sanchez and injuring a second person inside, along with a third person outside the vehicle, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
After the shooting, the gunman allegedly forced a married couple to drive him from the scene in their black Kia Soul.
When they reached Lynwood, Salazar allegedly shot Francisco Montes, 28, of Gardena and dragged him out of the vehicle on the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard onramp to the southbound Long Beach (710) Freeway.
The gunman also tried to shoot the dead man's wife, but his gun apparently jammed and he left the two on the side of the road and drove off, sheriff's investigators allege.
A weapon believed to have been used in the shootings was recovered at the freeway onramp.
The shooter knew his targets, but his motive was unclear, according to a sheriff's lieutenant, who added that Salazar and Montes both belonged to the same gang.
Salazar has been jailed without bail since his arrest in Inglewood the day after the shooting.