Residents and law enforcement officials are on high alert after four people were shot and killed within three hours in a five-mile radius in southeast Los Angeles County, and new information released Tuesday morning indicates that the shootings were likely connected to each other.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials confirmed to KTLA just after 10:30 a.m. Tuesday that two suspects believed to be responsible for the four murders were arrested, and that a third suspect may still possibly be on the loose.
The first shooting took place in the 6000 block of Bear Avenue in Bell around 11:30 p.m. Sunday night, according to LASD.
A man was found shot to death near the Martha Escutia Primary Center, and the school was closed on Monday due to the investigation, LASD said. Details surrounding the shooting remain limited, but deputies confirmed they responded to assist Bell Police Department officials with the investigation.
Family members of the victim, identified as Kevin Pereda, told KTLA 5’s Omar Lewis that he was outside talking with friends after the Super Bowl when he was killed.
“He came out to hang out with some friends, and I believe they went for the wrong guy,” said Kevin’s wife Berenice Pereda. “He was so happy and loving.”
Another man was killed less than two miles away in the 1500 block of East Florence Avenue eight minutes after midnight, deputies said. The Hispanic male victim was found unresponsive and pronounced dead at the scene.
Nine minutes later, a double shooting left 14-year-old Javier Pedraza dead and another teen wounded in front of the Ellen Ochoa Learning Center, located in the 5000 block of Live Oak Street in Cudahy, LASD confirmed. The wounded teen is expected to survive.
Despite the incident being reported just before 12:30 a.m. Monday morning, parents of Ellen Ochoa Learning Center students said they were not properly notified of the gruesome scene in front of their children’s school.
Video from the scene captured by KTLA on Monday showed a black canopy covering the victim’s body just hours before students were expected to arrive for class.
“When it’s raining, we get alerts right away, but for a body, we didn’t really hear anything until 8 o’clock in the morning,” one parent, Karla Lopez, told KTLA.
“My daughter was asking me about the body, but she knew that someone was dead outside her school,” said Carlos Pran, another parent. “It’s getting very dangerous for us and our kids.”
The fourth deadly shooting was reported in the 6300 block of Santa Fe Avenue in Huntington Park at 2:37 a.m. when a deputy in a patrol car observed a person lying in the street.
“The officer stopped his vehicle to check on the person’s welfare and discovered a Hispanic male adult suffering from [at least one] gunshot wound to the upper torso,” LASD said.
He was pronounced dead at the scene by Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics.
No suspects have been taken into custody in any of the four murders. A vehicle of interest has been recovered, LASD officials confirmed.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn addressed the shootings on social media, saying that the recent shootings are “especially concerning how close two of [them] were to schools” and that her office will provide law enforcement with any necessary assistance.
Anyone with information regarding any of the shootings is urged to contact the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.