A murder charge was filed Tuesday against a man accused of fatally wounding his sister-in-law in Van Nuys and firing shots while leading police on a 90-minute chase the next day.
Marcos Tulio Flores, 32, of Lake Balboa, pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, along with two counts of assault with a firearm and one count each of making criminal threats, fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving recklessly, possession of a firearm by a felon and discharge of a firearm with gross negligence.
Flores was initially charged last week with attempted murder, but the charge was amended to murder after Sulma Flores died of her injuries on Saturday.
Flores allegedly shot his sister-in-law and threatened his estranged wife and her family with a gun Jan. 8 at their Van Nuys home.
The next day, authorities said Flores led police on a late-evening chase after officers began following his car, which matched the description of the one connected to the shooting.
The pursuit came to an end after about 90 minutes, but a stretch of the San Diego (405) Freeway was closed for hours afterward, forcing thousands of motorists to find other routes.
During the televised stop-and-go chase, the driver gestured wildly out the window and sunroof, tossed items onto the freeway and fired his gun out the driver-side window. Police returned fire and shot out the rear window of the car, but the motorist kept going.
Flores was finally taken into custody on the southbound 405 in the Sepulveda Pass by SWAT officers who used a pit maneuver to stop the car, and beanbag rounds and a police dog to subdue him. He was taken to the hospital to be treated for a dog bite, but there were no reports of injuries to civilians or officers resulting from the chase.
The southbound 405, from the Hollywood (101) Freeway interchange to Sunset Boulevard, remained closed until about 6:30 a.m. last Tuesday.
Flores is being held in lieu of $3.325 million bail. If convicted, he could face a maximum of 84 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
–City News Service
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