As part of an ongoing homicide investigation, members of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), working in partnership with the Los Angeles County Probation Department (Probation) and the Department of Children and Family Services, served multiple search warrants throughout the San Fernando Valley, and other parts of the City and County of Los Angeles this morning.
The pre-dawn raids targeted several documented members of the Mara Salva Trucha (MS13) criminal street gang, who investigators believe played a part in the death of Mr. Bradley Hanaway on January 14, 2019. Hanaway, who was experiencing homelessness at the time of his murder, was accosted and shot to death as he slept at the Valley Plaza Recreation Center in North Hollywood. Information obtained suggests the gang is also responsible for at least five other violent assaults related to this murder that occurred in the area of the recreation center shortly after the murder.
In total, three persons were arrested, and several more remain outstanding. However, we expect to have them in custody in the coming days, and do not believe there is an immediate threat to the community. Investigators seized a myriad of weapons, ammunition, electronic media, and gang paraphernalia from approximately 10 locations. Believing there would be children at residences possibly subjected to neglect and/or abuse by the subjects under investigation, DCFS assistance was requested. In all, the conditions of 20 children were assessed. As a result, three investigations involving nine children were initiated, and will receive rigorous follow up. No children were immediately removed.
Over the past year, tagging and other evidence of MS13’s presence has been observed at multiple locations throughout the Valley. Officials believe the gang is attempting to establish a foothold by directly challenging rival gangs in the area. Investigators believe the murder of Hanaway by members of MS13 was motivated by their attempt to claim the territory in and around the Valley Plaza Recreation Center. This morning’s operation not only assisted investigators in the furtherance of their investigation, but also sent a message to MS13 that their criminal presence will not be tolerated in the San Fernando Valley or anywhere within the City of Los Angeles.
The contributions of Probation and DCFS were instrumental to the LAPD’s ability to effectively and efficiently brought to a close an investigation that was nearly five months in the making.
Questions or information requests can be directed to Detective Marco Evans, Serial No. 38736, at (818) 374-1949.