The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors renewed two rewards Tuesday, hoping to draw out witnesses to a hit-and-run collision that killed a 61-year-old homeless man in Florence-Firestone and the shooting of a 26-year-old father of two outside an Altadena burger spot.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas recommended extending a $10,000 reward for information on the hit-and-run motorist who killed James Haley on July 14, 2018. The reward, set to expire Friday, will now be available for at least another 90 days.
Haley was walking south on Firestone Boulevard crossing Holmes Avenue in a marked crosswalk about 2 a.m. when the driver of a 2017 white Dodge Charger headed east struck him.
The car was found later that day a short distance away, in the 1800 block of East 87th Street one block south of Firestone Boulevard, with damage to the windshield and hood and physical evidence that it had struck a pedestrian, police said.
California Highway Patrol officers found 55-year-old Julio Santamaria walking in the area and arrested him, alleging that he had been driving drunk at the time of the crash. Santamaria was released from jail three days later after the District Attorney’s Office asked for further investigation.
Ridley-Thomas said Haley was homeless at the time of his death and is survived by his son, Jason.
The supervisor urged anyone with additional information to call California Highway Patrol Detective Donald Smulski at 310-516-3355.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger recommended re-establishing a $20,000 reward — which expired Dec. 30, 2016 — for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever shot 26-year-old Christopher Walker on Oct. 30, 2014.
Walker was sitting on a patio outside Fair Oaks Burger at 2560 N. Fair Oaks Ave., waiting for his order, when a man got out of a car and shot him multiple times. Walker, a father of two daughters, was pronounced dead at Huntington Memorial Hospital.
A witness told deputies the shooter drove off in a gray, four-door sedan.
Walker’s mother, Ursula Denise Walker, posted a commentary about her son’s death on The Homicide Report section of the Los Angeles Times website in 2016.
“Almost a year has passed as we wait for the responsible person or persons to be arrested,” she wrote. “We wait for police updates. We wait for someone from our community to come forward with information about a crime that occurred in broad daylight.”
She said her son was a Boy Scout, involved in sports and attended a private school, but nevertheless joined a neighborhood gang at an early age. Despite family intervention, he became a juvenile offender, but then turned his life around at 19, found a steady job and was a loving father, she said.
Barger urged anyone with more information to call the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous calls about either crime may also be made to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477) or filed at www.lacrimestoppers.org.