Double Murder Investigation

November 4, 2002

Los Angeles: On Sunday, November 3, 2002, at approximately 1:35 p.m., Van Nuys Patrol officers responded to a call of shooting in the 16500 Block of Sherman Way (Auto Zone Auto Part Store). Upon arrival, the officers were informed by store employees 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. Mercardo was listed in critical condition.
The initial investigation has 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 some auto parts 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.
Anyone with information regarding this incident or additional victims is asked to call the Van Nuys Homicide Unit at 818-756-8377. On weekends and during off-hours, call the 24-hour toll free number at the Detective Information Desk, 1-877-LAWFULL, 1-877-529-3855.
This press release was prepared by Public Information Officer Jason Lee, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.
On Monday, November 4, 2002, at 1:20 p.m., Victim Francisco Mercado was pronounced dead at Northridge Medial Center, despite the treatment over night.