Tragedy at Veteran’s Administration Complex

November 11, 1999

Thursday, November 11, 1999
On Wednesday, November 10, 1999, at 11:50 a.m., an argument between two men erupted in front of an out-patient clinic within the Veterans Administration Complex, located at 16100 block of Plummer Street, in Granada Hills. The dispute escalated when one of the men armed himself with a handgun and fired several rounds at the other man, striking him multiple times in the upper body. The shooter fired additional rounds in the direction of a fleeing witness, but the witness escaped uninjured. The suspect ran to a vehicle parked in front of the clinic, and fled from the complex. When officers arrived they and discovered the victim had died at the scene.

The suspect drove northbound on Haskell Avenue and collided with another vehicle at the intersection of Devonshire Boulevard and Haskell Avenue. The suspect’s car came to rest on Devonshire and he fled on foot from the vehicle, to the rear of a residence. Citizens reported seeing the suspect place a handgun to his head and fire. Officers and LAFD paramedics responded to the scene. The suspect was transported to Holy Cross Hospital where he died as the result of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Devonshire Homicide personnel responded and assumed investigative responsibility for each crime scene. Several witnesses to both shootings were interviewed at Devonshire Station. Preliminary information indicated the suspect is a patient at the clinic. He initiated contact with the victim and an argument ensued however, it is unclear what the argument was about. Investigators believe the suspect and victim knew one another, yet the incident appears to be a chance encounter. The background of both individuals remains under investigation, as does the motive for the murder. The handgun, believed to be the murder weapon, was recovered at the scene of the suicide.

The victim has been identified as Armando Ballesteros, a 53 year-old resident of San Fernando. The suspect is a 52 year-old Caucasian, however his name is being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin.

The case remains under investigation by Devonshire Area Homicide Detectives.

For Release 11:15 am PST
November 11, 1999