Los Angeles: Twelve hours after the fatal shooting of a 33-year-old man at an Arleta shopping mall, LAPD detectives arrested one of the key suspects, Geraldo Romero Lopez, 23, of Arelta. Another man and a woman are also implicated in the July 24th shooting on Van Nuys Boulevard.
“The detectives worked through the night combing over key evidence that linked Lopez to the shooting,” said Lt. Paul Vernon. “Turns out, Lopez lived just a couple blocks down the street from the crime scene.”
Overnight, detectives got a search warrant for Lopez’s residence in the 9000 block of Arleta Avenue, as well as a warrant for Lopez’s arrest. While detectives were setting up on the house, Lopez came out with a female companion about 8 AM this morning. Both were detained and the house was searched.
Lopez was the suspect, described by witnesses, as having distinct tattoos of a “P” on his head and “Pacoima” on his lip.
Detectives also seized a black Toyota, which had been described last night as a Nissan, and the getaway car that hit other cars following the shooting. Collision damage on the Toyota was consistent with the damage left on other cars at the crime scene. “Amazingly, Lopez’s mother and brother were stopped driving that Toyota from the house this morning toward a body shop to repair the damage,” explained Lt. Vernon.
Police are still looking for another Hispanic man who was present at the time of the shooting. That suspect is a male Hispanic, in his 30s, and was wearing a small fedora hat. Detectives will question the woman stopped with Lopez this morning to determine if she was the same woman also present at the time of the shooting.
Lopez had been on parole for robbery, but the parole had recently ended. Lopez will be booked for murder at the LAPD Mission Police Station. His bail had not been determined.
Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Detective Ryan Verna, Mission Homicide Unit, at 818-838-9976. 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 800-222-TIPS (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.” Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.