LA DA Files Charges on Ofcr Brown’s Murder

December 16, 1998

Wednesday, December 16, 1998
Los Angeles County District Attorney Files Charges Against the Murderer of Los Angeles Police Officer Brian Brown

Los Angeles- Murder with special circumstances charges were filed today against 21-year-old Inglewood man in connection with last month’s fatal shooting of Los Angeles Police Officer Brian Brown, the District Attorney’s Crimes Against Police Officers Section announced.

Head Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey C. Jonas said although the charges were filed against Jaime Mares (DOB 6-28-77), the defendant remains hospitalized and there is no word on when he will be well enough to appear in court. Mares was shot at Los Angeles International Airport over the long Thanksgiving weekend while allegedly trying to flee police.

Mares is charged in case No. BA 178539 with two counts of murder, including the murder of the officer and fatal shooting of a man whose death sparked the chain of events leading to Brown’s killing; three counts of attempted murder; one count of evading an officer; and one count of grand theft auto. The special circumstances alleged were murder of a peace officer in performance of his duty and multiple murder. Since it was filed as a capital case, it was recommended the defendant be held without bail.

Brown, 27, was shot and killed during the second of three shootings that began the evening of Sunday, November 29, near Culver City and culminated at the airport.

Brown and his partner, Francisco Dominguez, chased two men in a car around the 3900 block of Centinela Avenue, where Gerardo Sernas was shot to death. One of the men was armed with a rifle, authorities said.

The fleeing car was chased to the Fox Hills shopping mall, where it stopped and the man with the rifle fired, killing Brown. The officer was shot in the head.

Dominguez and two other officers who had joined the pursuit returned fire, killing the rifleman, identified as 23-year-old Oscar Zatarain, an alleged gang member.

Mares fled on foot, then commandeered an airport taxi that was parked outside a fast-food restaurant, investigators said. He fled, followed by police, and eventually crashed the vehicle at Los Angeles International Airport, police added. He was shot as he was running away, authorities said.

The murder counts charged against Mares stem from both the shooting of the officer and Sernas. Jonas said Sernas was visiting the area and the reason he was shot was not clear.

Although the case was filed as a capital crime, a decision on whether to seek the death penalty will not be made until after a preliminary hearing and when the case moves closer to trial.

For more information:
Los Angeles Police Officer Brian Brown Killed in the Line of Duty

For Release 11:40 am PST
December 16, 1998