Los Angeles: Three men were arrested for murder Sunday after leading police officers on an extended pursuit in the San Fernando Valley.
On April 15, 2007, around 5:25 P.M., Van Nuys patrol officers were dispatched to a shooting call in the 14900 block of Vanowen Street, in Van Nuys. The victim, Manuel Ramirez Lopez, 18, of Reseda, was walking near a Department of Motor Vehicles parking lot when he was approached by three Hispanic men in a green Honda. The suspects asked the victim where he was from. When Lopez denied that he was in a gang, the suspects got out of their vehicle and assaulted him.
During the altercation, one of the suspects pulled a gun and fired at least one round, striking Lopez in the upper torso. The suspects got back in their car and sped away. Paramedics responded and rushed Lopez to Holy Cross Hospital, where he died from his injuries.
As the suspects drove from the scene, they were seen by police officers who, in their police car, had just heard the crime broadcast. An extended pursuit ensued. At one point, one of the suspects, a 16-year-old juvenile, jumped from the car and led officers on a short foot pursuit. While running, he threw a handgun and t-shirt into a trash can. The suspect eventually fell and was taken into custody without further incident. The gun was recovered.
The two remaining suspects became involved in a traffic collision at Terra Bella Street and Arleta Avenue, in Pacoima. Christian Soto, 19, and Jose Hernandez, 19, both of Van Nuys, were arrested.
The motive for the shooting is believed to be gang-related. The victim was not a known member of a gang.
Anyone with information is asked to call Van Nuys Homicide Unit at 818-374-0040, during normal business hours. After hours and on weekends, phone the Van Nuys Watch Commander at 818-374-9500.