Candy Cane Lane Shooter Has Been Identified

January 24, 2000

Monday, January 24, 2000
Los Angeles police Detectives have identified the suspect wanted for the Christmas Day shooting in the "Candy Cane Lane" area of Woodland Hills. Victim Francisco Javier Hernandez, 24, of Canoga Park, was with his wife and their two year old son driving through the area viewing the Christmas decorations when Hernandez suddenly stopped his vehicle and got out. He approached a male Hispanic pedestrian and witnesses observed an altercation take place. The suspect then shot the victim once in the head and once in the abdomen with a small caliber semi-automatic pistol. The suspect fled and was seen entering a dark green vehicle. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital where he was admitted in gravely critical condition. His condition has not changed in the weeks following the incident.

The suspect has been identified as 32 year old Carlos Alvaro Beltrani Merino, of Sylmar. It is believed that the shooting stemmed from a prior dispute between Hernandez and Merino. Merino reportedly owed Hernandez money. The vehicle used in the incident has been located and impounded when detectives served a search warrant at Merino’s Sayre Avenue residence in Sylmar.

The case has been presented to the District Attorney’s Office and a warrant for Merino’s arrest, charging him with one count of attempted murder and one count of ex-convict with a gun, has been issued.

Merino is a convicted felon with an extensive prior criminal record. He is described as a male Hispanic, brown hair and eyes, 5’5 tall, 150 pounds, 32 years of age, with almond-shaped eyes. He should be considered armed and dangerous. He is a Mexican national and may have returned to that country.

For Release 1:30 pm PST
January 24, 2000