Southern California

Arrest Made in Murder of Adopted 8-Year-Old in Pomona

The shooting that killed 8-year-old Jonah Hwang was one of four at the same residence

A 35-year-old man was arrested Sunday in connection with the murder of an 8-year-old boy who was shot and killed in Pomona in February.

Sengchan Houl, 35, was arrested in Pomona Sunday and booked at the Pomona City jail, Pomona police said. He was stopped as he left his house in Pomona, police said at a Monday news conference.

Jonah Hwang died Feb. 20 after being shot in the head during a suspected drive-by shooting. At least three bullets hit the Pomona home but no one else was struck.

"It was a tragedy what happened to the little kid," said resident Trevor Carson. "And them making an arrest, I guess police are doing their job."

The shooting was one in a series of four reported at the home, including one on Saturday at 7 a.m., when bullets hit the home in the 1100 block of West 11th Street. No one was home at the time of the latest shooting and neighbors said the family moved out of their home immediately after the killing.

Detectives with Pomona police were reviewing surveillance footage Sunday to figure out who keeps shooting at the home. Authorities said they believe all the shootings are connected.

"Four shootings at one location, I would not call that random," said Pomona Police Chief Paul Capraro. "We do not know what that connection is at this point."

Resident Tinita Williams said she heard about four rounds of gunfire on Saturday. 

"That could have been my son," she said. "That could have been anyone's kid."

Jonah's adoptive parents had brought him from an orphanage in Taiwan less than three years ago to begin a new American life. Jonah's family attends church at Pomona Presbyterian and Pastor Adam Donner says the family still has a long road of healing. 

"It doesn't answer a lot of questions. I think they're grateful for the work police have done and grateful that this ends this part of it, but they still don't have a child," Donner said. 

A $20,000 reward was offered late February for information leading to the killer. Early March, the community rallied together at a "super hero" inspired funeral service for the boy. 

NBC4's Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this report.

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