A 25-year-old man was charged Friday with capital murder and other counts for allegedly opening fire Tuesday at a gathering of friends in Gardena, killing a woman and injuring three other people before carjacking a married couple and fatally shooting the husband in Lynwood.
Selvin Fabian Salazar — who was arrested in Inglewood a day after the shootings — is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in a Torrance courtroom on two counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and one count each of carjacking, kidnapping, dissuading a witness by force or threat and possession of a firearm by a felon.
The murder charges include the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Salazar.
The charges also include allegations that he personally used a handgun, inflicted great bodily injury and death, committed the crime in association with a criminal street gang and had a prior felony conviction, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The violence began around 4 a.m. Tuesday at a mobile home park in the 1200 block of West 135th Street, near Normandie Avenue, in Gardena, where a group of friends had gathered. The suspect allegedly became upset for unknown reasons during the gathering and opened fire at the group, sheriff’s officials said.
A woman identified as Dolores Sanchez was killed and three other people were wounded, including a 23-year-old pregnant woman believed to be the suspect’s girlfriend. The woman and her unborn baby were expected to survive, sheriff’s officials said.
Also wounded was a 24-year-old woman who was taken to a hospital, treated and released. A fourth victim identified only as a Hispanic male whose age was unknown was hospitalized in serious condition.
After the shooting, the gunman forced a married couple to drive him from the scene in their vehicle, a black Kia Soul, officials said. When they reached Lynwood, the suspect allegedly fatally shot the husband who was driving the SUV and dragged him out of the vehicle on the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on-ramp to the southbound Long Beach (710) Freeway.
The suspect tried to shoot the dead man’s wife, but his gun apparently jammed, said Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
“She’s very lucky to be alive, actually,” Corina said.
The suspect, frustrated at his malfunctioning weapon, fled in the couple’s SUV, leaving the wife behind with her dead husband, according to Corina.
The husband was identified by the coroner’s office as Francisco Montes, 28, of Gardena.
A weapon believed to have been used in the shootings was recovered at the freeway on-ramp, the sheriff’s department reported.
Corina had told reporters that investigators knew who the suspect was, but that they withheld his name while they continued searching for him.
“These are people he knows,” Corina said. “… Why he’s shooting at them, we’re still trying to figure it out.”
Salazar and Montes both belong to the same gang, Corina told reporters.
Salazar was located about 5 p.m. Wednesday in the 4100 block of Century Boulevard, near Prairie Avenue, in Inglewood, according to Deputy Charles Moore of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
He has remained jailed without bail since then.