Authorities appealed for help Tuesday in finding a man suspected in the shooting death of another man in Lancaster in December.
Oscar Palazuelos, 19, is wanted in the killing of Ismael Zabala, 26, who was gunned down on Dec. 20 while attending a family birthday party at a relative’s home, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Investigators identified Palazuelos and Ervin Alvarez as suspects in the killing, and warrants were issued, according to Los Angles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger in her June 22 motion for a reward offer in the case. Alvarez was subsequently arrested, but Palazuelos remains at large.
A reward bulletin with a photo of Palazuelos was displayed at a Tuesday morning news conference at the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau in Monterey Park.
According to sheriff’s Lt. Derrick Alfred, Palazuelos and the second suspect were invited to the gathering in the 400 block of West Avenue J-12 by another attendee, but were not known to Zabala or his family.
“They were invited inside (but) after some time both men were asked to leave,” Alfred said. “A physical altercation occurred at the front door, where Ismael Zabala and an additional victim were then assaulted by both men. Oscar Palazuelos and the second suspect drew handguns. Oscar Palazuelos fired. Ismael and another individual were struck by gunfire.”
Zabala died, but the other victim, identified by Barger as Zabala’s brother Charlie, survived.
“The second suspect has been identified and arrested, but we’ll not be releasing that information at this time,” Alfred said. “A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Oscar Palazuelos, and we believe he has gone into hiding.”
Zabala had served three years in the United States Army before receiving an honorable discharge.
“What we’re looking for is just some kind of justice,” his father Alex Zabala said at the news conference, where he appealed for public help in finding Palazuelos.
“I would appreciate it if everybody that’s out there, if they know his whereabouts, can help us out and bring him in, so he can pay for his crimes …” Alex Zabala said. “And the sooner we can get him in, the better. He’s out there, and what he did is not right.”
A $10,000 reward has been offered by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and a $10,000 reward has been offered by the city of Lancaster for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Palazuelos.
Palazuelos was described as 5-feet-9 inches tall and 180 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He should be considered armed and dangerous, the sheriff’s department reported.
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.