Three Arrested in Skidrow Double Murder NR09317pv

July 7, 2009

Los Angeles.  Los Angeles detectives have arrested two men and one woman over the past week, all three implicated in the Easter Sunday double murder of Tommie Hayes, 33, and
Kevin “KK” Cohen, 49.

“As we suspected, the murder was motivated by narcotics,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, head of detectives for the Central Police Station.  “What we did not expect was a complicated murder-for-hire; one drug dealer trying to eliminate his competition.”

Over the last twelve weeks, detectives worked a myriad of clues from tipsters and witnesses, but the biggest break came about five weeks in when detectives arrested Shanana Flores, 33, on an unrelated narcotics charge.

Over the next several weeks, detectives served search warrants and built a case that showed Richard Luna, 28, as the hired gunman.  He is an East Los Angeles gang member who has been in prison on an unrelated weapons violation since May 10.

“I’m very proud of these detectives,” Vernon added.  “This is a complicated case that was made even more complicated by the notoriety of Kevin Cohen and the fact the murder occurred in Skidrow.  What people don’t realize is that, regardless of our victims’ condition or strata in life, finding justice for their deaths is our top priority, and few homicide units can claim a solve rate as high as Central Homicide.”

Detectives believe Hayes was the intended target of the murder, while Cohen was probably an unplanned victim.  “We may never know for sure how or why Cohen was shot,” Vernon said.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed counts of murder-for-hire and conspiracy to commit murder against Flores, Luna, and Tommie Hayes’ apparent rival,
Lamont Ward, 40, of Inglewood.

Ward was arrested July 1 in Inglewood as he sat in the guard house of an up-scale, gated community where he worked nights as a security guard.  Detectives arrested Flores on June 27.  Luna will be transported to court and arraigned on the murder charges this week.

The Easter Sunday murder was the first murder in Skidrow since June 2008, and the only murder in downtown this year.