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One Dead, One Wounded After Van Nuys Shooting

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Devon Miller / The Valley Post

Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Valley Bureau Homicide Unit are seeking the public’s assistance for information related to a fatal Van Nuys shooting.

On Saturday, Feb. 6, at about 10:09 p.m., Van Nuys area patrol officers responded to a call of shots fired on the 13700 block of Vanowen Street, according to the LAPD in a statement.

Upon arrival, officers observed a victim on the sidewalk suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, according to investigators.

The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) responded and transported the first victim to a local hospital in unknown condition.

While at the scene, the officers were directed to the third floor of the complex by witnesses. The officers observed a second victim in the hallway suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the LAPD.

The 40-year-old male was unconscious and not breathing. The LAFD responded and pronounced him dead at the scene, police said.

The investigation revealed there was a gathering in one of the apartments. “An argument ensued between two of the guests and a shooting occurred,” said LAPD officials.

Detectives are attempting to identify the individuals at the gathering as well as the suspect or suspects responsible for the shooting.

The identity of the victim is unknown as of Sunday pending the notification of next of kin by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s office.

Anyone with additional information is urged to call Detective Steve Castro with the LAPD Valley Bureau Homicide at (818) 374-1925.

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Crime

Two Arrested For Murder After Fatal Hit-And-Run Crash In Sun Valley

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Devon Miller / The Valley Post

Two suspects have been arrested for murder in connection to a fatal hit-and-run crash in Sun Valley last month. 

Filiberto Espinoza, 23, and Christopher Brown, 28, are both charged with murder after fleeing the scene of a fatal crash, according to Detective Wade with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Valley Traffic Division. 

On Feb. 6, Espinoza was driving a pickup truck when on Coldwater Canyon Avenue when he a red light at the intersection with Roscoe Boulevard, according to investigators. 

The pickup truck collided with the driver’s side of a vintage Morris Minor, killing the driver. 

After the crash, police said Espinoza abandoned his pickup truck at the scene of the incident.

Brown was driving behind Espinoza in a Hyundai Tiburon when the fatal crash occurred, according to detectives. 

Instead of rendering aid to the victim, Espinoza then got into the Hyundai driven by Brown and fled the scene, investigators said. 

The LAPD Valley Traffic Division conducted an investigation into the crash and released footage of the incident to locate the two suspects. 

A $50,000 reward was issued for any information that would lead to the capture of the wanted pair.

Espinoza was taken into custody by LAPD Mission Division patrol officers on Feb. 14, according to investigators. 

About two weeks later on Feb. 25, Valley Traffic Division detectives, with the assistance of the Gang and Narcotics Division and parole agents, worked together to arrest Brown. 

Both suspects are still in custody at the LAPD Valley Jail as of Tuesday with Espinoza being held in lieu of $3.3 million bail and Brown held on $2.1 million bail. 

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Crime

Pedestrian Killed After Being Struck By Two Drivers In Sun Valley Hit-And-Run

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Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Valley Traffic Division detectives are seeking the public’s assistance in providing any information that would lead to the identification of two drivers involved in a Sun Valley hit-and-run crash that resulted in the death of a pedestrian. 

On Feb. 26, about 7:40 p.m., a 2001 Toyota Camry was traveling northbound on Glenoaks Boulevard, north of Vinedale Avenue, when the vehicle collided with a pedestrian that was crossing eastbound outside of the marked crosswalk, according to the LAPD in a statement. 

“The pedestrian landed on the roadway and was struck by a second and third vehicle,” LAPD officials said. 

The driver of the Toyota Camry immediately stopped and remained at the scene as required by law, according to investigators. 

However, the second and third vehicles that were involved fled the scene. The two vehicles are described as a dark gray sports utility vehicle and a dark sports utility vehicle, police said.

Both drivers failed to stop, render aid, and/or identify themselves as required by California law, according to the LAPD. 

Paramedics of the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to the scene and pronounced the pedestrian dead.  The victim is described as a 60-year-old female, according to investigators. 

The identity of the victim is being withheld pending notification to the next of kin.

“Drivers are reminded that if they become involved in a collision, they should pull over and stop as soon as it is safe to do so, notify emergency services, and remain at the scene to identify themselves,” said LAPD officials.

On April 15, 2015, the City Council amended the Los Angeles Administrative Code and created a Hit and Run Reward Program Trust Fund. A reward of up to $50,000 is available to community members who provide information leading to the offender’s identification, apprehension, and conviction or resolution through a civil compromise.  

Anyone with information is asked to contact Valley Traffic Division investigator Officer Garcia at (818) 644-8117.  During non-business hours, or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-527-3247.  

Those wishing to remain anonymous should call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or go directly here

This is the third fatal hit-and-run in the San Fernando Valley in the past two months. 

On Jan. 6, a 72-year-old man was in the crosswalk at Webb Avenue and Roscoe Boulevard when he was struck by a vehicle. 

The elderly man died a month later after succumbing to injuries sustained in the crash. 

As of Monday, the suspect in this crash is still at-large, according to the LAPD.

Last month, a man was killed after a driver ran a red light on Coldwater Canyon Avenue in Sun Valley.

The two suspects in connection with the Sun Valley crash were arrested last week, however, detectives are unable to release details about the arrest. 

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Crime

Over $7,000 Of Equipment Stolen From Gardener In Glendale Robbery

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Glendale Robbery Gardener Robbery
Photo Courtesy of GoFundMe

A gardener was assaulted before three men stole about $7,400 of equipment in a Glendale robbery this past week. 

On Tuesday, Feb. 23, at about 9:15 a.m., Glendale Police Department (GPD) officers responded to a report of a robbery that just occurred on the 1500 block of El Miradero Avenue, according to Sgt. Hauptmann, spokesperson for the GPD. 

An immediate area check for the suspects was conducted, but officers were unable to locate them, according to Hauptmann.

The initial investigation revealed that the victim of the robbery was working as a gardener at a residence when he noticed a blue minivan parked next to his work van and three suspects stealing gardening equipment from his van, according to the spokesperson. 

“As the suspects attempted to flee the scene in their vehicle, the victim grabbed the keys from the minivan’s ignition to try to stop them,” Hauptmann said.

The driver of the suspect vehicle grabbed the victim’s arm and drove the minivan in reverse at a high rate of speed for approximately 300 yards at which point he stopped and punched the victim in the face, causing him to fall onto the roadway, according to investigators. 

After this, the suspects fled the scene in the minivan.

The suspects are described as three Hispanic males in their early 20’s.  The driver of the suspect vehicle was described as having a shaved head, according to the GPD.

There is no further description of the suspects, Hauptmann said.

The suspects’ vehicle was described as a late 1990’s to early 2000’s blue Dodge Caravan with traffic collision damage to the front passenger side headlight.  

The victim, Enrique Gonzalez, received a minor injury during the robbery and declined medical attention.  

About $7,400 of gardening equipment was stolen in the incident, according to investigators. 

A GoFundMe has been created for Gonzalez to replace the stolen equipment, according to Rachel Siegel, who organized the fundraiser.

“Enrique had to run alongside the van for dear life, and try not to fall or get run over, as neighbors watched in horror,” the GoFundMe reads. “He said he thought he was going to die.”

Gonzalez needs a new lawnmower, edger and other equipment to make a living as a gardener. Siegel started the GoFundMe page to help raise the money he will need to replace his gardening equipment and keep working to support his family.  

Anyone with information that can assist with the investigation is encouraged to contact the Glendale Police Department at 818-548-4911.  Those wishing to remain anonymous, can call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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