Authorities Wednesday circulated composite drawings of two men wanted in connection with three unsolved homicides in the East Los Angeles area that are possibly related, and stressed that an $80,000 reward for help in solving the crimes remains available.
Jesse Avalos, 34, was found shot to death on Feb. 11, 2014, at about 3:25 a.m. in the 4800 block of East Telegraph Road, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Joe Mendoza said at a news conference at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles.
About four hours earlier, Avalos had received a call from an acquaintance asking him to go the location to jump-start a vehicle, and he went there to help, Mendoza said. Avalos was found shot to death while seated in the driver’s seat of his SUV, Mendoza said. Two suspects were seen leaving the area.
Eduardo Robles, 38, was fatally shot on July 6, 2015, at about 7:30 p.m. after he got into a fight with a suspect in the driveway of a residence in the 4300 block of Eagle Street, Mendoza said.
About 15-20 people were at the location at the time, but none has provided information leading to the arrest of the suspect, Mendoza said.
Amanda “Nikki” Lopez, 27, was fatally shot on April 22, 2018, at about 2:40 a.m., as she slept in a tent near a homeless encampment in the 200 block of Fetterly Avenue in front of the East Los Angeles field office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, Mendoza said.
Security video showed the gunman, who wore a mask, getting out of a light-colored Chrysler PT Cruiser and firing into the tent, Mendoza said. The suspect went to the encampment looking for Lopez, Mendoza said. After the shooting, the gunman ran to the PT Cruiser, which was driven by another man, and it sped off.
However, once he was inside the vehicle, the gunman took off his mask, and witnesses saw his face, Mendoza said. Composite drawings were circulated Wednesday of the two men, as was security video from the crime scene.
The gunman was described as being in his late 20s, 5-feet-8 inches tall, with a medium build and short hair.
The driver was described as being in his mid- to late 40s, 5-feet-8 inches to 5-feet-9 inches tall, with a heavyset build and a possible mustache.
According to Mendoza, ballistics evidence showed that the same gun was used in the first two killings. The driver is believed to have accompanied the gunman in the second and third killings, Mendoza said.
Detectives believe the three crimes, which occurred within about two miles from one another, are connected, and that the suspects targeted the victims, Mendoza said. However, other details were not being released at this time, Mendoza said, adding that the suspects may have been involved in other crimes.
Also at the news conference was Jesse Avalos’ sister, Maria Avalos, who appealed for public help in solving the killings.
“I think I speak for my family as well as the other families — we don’t have closure, we don’t have justice …” Maria Avalos said. “All of these families are still suffering. Please help us. Please come forward with any information you have.”
The reward was approved last month by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Anyone with information on the killings was urged to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.