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News Release

Friday, November 8, 2002

Media Relations

Murder Suspect Arrested


Los Angeles: On Sunday, November 3, 2002, at approximately 1:35 p.m., Van Nuys Patrol officers responded to a "Shots Fired" call in the 16500 Block of Sherman Way (Auto Zone Auto Parts Store). Upon arrival, store employees informed the officers that there were two victims of gunshot wounds inside the store. The officers entered the store and found Carlos Avalos, 44 years of age, a resident of Van Nuys, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to his upper torso. Avalos was pronounced dead at the scene. The other victim, Francisco Mercado, 34 years of age, a resident of Pacoima, was also suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the upper torso and was transported to a local hospital.

On Monday, November 4, 2002, at 1:20 p.m., Francisco Mercado was pronounced dead at Northridge Medial Center. The initial investigation revealed that the two victims were store employees of Auto Zone and were shot by a suspect who was upset when he was refused a refund on auto parts that he wanted to return to the store. The suspect is a regular customer at the store and has been identified as Byron Jackson, a male Black, black hair, brown eyes, 5’9", 170 lbs., 40 years old. He is driving a blue 1994 Dodge Dakota extra-cab truck with the California license plate of 6M29885.

Van Nuys Homicide Detectives are conducting the investigation and Jackson should be considered armed and dangerous.


On November 8, 2002, at 12:15 a.m., a task force comprised of United States Marshals, California Parole Officers, and LAPD Van Nuys Officers, responded to the 27000 block of Sierra Highway in Santa Clarita. At the direction of LAPD Van Nuys Homicide Detectives, the officers took 40 year-old Byron Jackson into custody and transported him to the Van Nuys Area jail. Jackson was booked for murder without bail.

This press release was prepared by Public Information Officer Jack Richter, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.