2 arrested after 'random murder spree' leaves 4 dead, including teen boy, in Southern California

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Wednesday, February 14, 2024
2 arrested in LA County shooting spree that left 4 dead
A series of shootings that left four victims dead in southeast Los Angeles County appeared to be "a random murder spree," a sheriff's department official said.

LOS ANGELES -- Two suspects have been arrested in connection with a series of shootings in Southern California that left four people dead, including a 14-year-old boy, authorities said Tuesday.

The in southeast Los Angeles County killings, which occurred within hours of one another late Sunday night and early Monday morning, are being investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The shootings took place in the cities of Bell, Cudahy and Huntington Park, and in the Florence-Firestone area of South L.A. A red Honda Pilot SUV believed to be involved in the killings has been recovered, authorities said.

Investigators were able to identify the vehicle and its license plate number soon after the homicides, and entered it into a law enforcement database. That information led to a traffic stop in San Bernardino County, where sheriff's deputies took one of the suspects into custody.

The second suspect was identified "through other investigative techniques" and arrested after a SWAT team served a search warrant at a home, L.A. County Sheriff's Capt. Andrew Meyer said at Tuesday news conference. The location of the home was not disclosed.

Meyer identified the suspects as Gary Garcia, 42, and Timberland Wayne McNeely, 20. Detectives believe both are gang members.

Homicide detectives believe a third suspect may be at large.

"It appears that this was a random murder spree," Meyer told reporters.

The shooting that claimed the life of 14-year-old Javier Pedraza Jr. early Monday morning in Cudahy also left another boy wounded and hospitalized in stable condition. That crime scene was just outside the Ellen Ochoa Learning Center on Live Oak Street.

A GoFundMe page has been created in Javier's honor.

The other homicides took place at 11:30 p.m. Sunday in Bell, shortly after 12 a.m. Monday in Florence-Firestone, and just after 2:30 a.m. Monday in Huntington Park.

According to the Los Angele County medical examiner's offices, 24-year-old Kevin Parada was identified as the victim killed in Bell. A GoFundMe page has been created to help pay for Parada's funeral expenses. A vigil in his honor is scheduled to be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the 6000 block of Bear Avenue, where he was shot.

Parada's mother, who identified herself as Teresa, said her son was at a friend's house when he was murdered.

The names of the other two deceased victims have been withheld by the medical examiner's office, pending notification of their families.

Anyone with information about the killings was asked to contact the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at at (323) 890-5500.