Good Samaritan Saves Life NR13053am

February 21, 2013

Los Angeles:  Juan Carlos Cardenas, 25, was arrested February 19 when patrol officers found him walking casually and out of breath in the 13300 block of Borden Street, in Sylmar.  Detectives later booked him for the murder of his ex-girlfriend’s 61-year-old mother and the attempted murder of the ex-girlfriend.

The incident started just after 4 PM when a 40-year-old good Samaritan from Pacoima was dropping off a friend on Borden Street and saw a SUV driving erratically behind him.  The SUV pulled into a long driveway and two women jumped out, running.  The good Samaritan followed down the driveway.

“At that point, everything seemed to calm down, and our witness ended his 9-1-1 call and backed out of the driveway,” explained Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division.  “But the witness departing seemed to prompt Cardenas to resume his attack.”

Cardenas gunned the car toward Rosa Figueroa as if to run her over, then got out of his car with a pipe and chased Figueroa while her 24-year-old daughter and Cardenas’s ex-girlfriend, jumped over a fence into an adjoining property.

The good Samaritan had remained and called 9-1-1 again.  He frantically described Cardenas striking Figueroa then chasing her daughter over the fence.  The good Samaritan had remained and pointed out Cardenas to arriving officers.

Figueroa died at the scene, and doctors have sedated her daughter at the hospital to treat the massive fractures to her face.  She is expected to survive.  She has a 2-month-old son in common with Cardenas.

“We have no doubt that the daughter’s life was saved thanks to the good Samaritan’s persistence and willingness to get involved,” added Lt. Vernon.

Detectives interviewed Cardenas’s family who said they had lived in fear of him due to recent erratic, violent behavior caused by regular methamphetamine use.  Cardenas had spent 12 days in jail recently for choking his mother.  He had also been served with a restraining order to stay away from Ms. Figueroa after he kicked in her apartment door recently.  

“The irony of this tragedy is that Figueroa and her daughter were trying to help Cardenas to a hospital when this fatal rampage occurred,” Lt. Vernon said.

Anyone with information regarding this crime is urged to call Detective Gretchen Schultz, Mission Homicide Unit at 818-838-9951.  During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).Anonymous tips can be called into Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.