Update; Murder Suspect Identified

November 24, 2004

Los Angeles: On November 5, 2004 , at 5:50 p.m., 23 year-old Eduardo Cardenas, of Van Nuys, was driving his car east on Saticoy Street, stopped for the red light at White Oak Avenue. He noticed that a blue Honda to his left did not have its headlights on, so he called out to the two occupants of the car to make them aware of it. The passenger in the Honda pulled out a gun and fired several shots at Cardenas, striking him in the upper torso. The Honda then executed a quick left turn and was last seen driving northbound on White Oak Avenue . Cardenas was able to drive a short distance, stopping his car in a nearby parking lot. He exited his car, then collapsed to the ground.

His 12-year-old cousin was a passenger in the car at the time. Witnesses to the incident called 911 and Cardenas was transported by Los Angeles City Fire Department paramedics to Northridge Hospital, where he died shortly after arrival.

After an extensive investigation, the shooting suspect has been identified as 20-year-old Mario Alberto Pichardo, a member of a Van Nuys area street gang, who is believed to have been involved in several other violent crimes in the past few weeks. He is believed to be responsible for a stabbing at a party in Canoga Park on the night following the Cardenas murder.

Pichardo, a Mexican native, is believed to have fled the country. A warrant charging him with the Cardenas murder, the stabbing the following night, and another assault and attempted robbery that occurred on October 30, 2004, in Reseda, has been issued for his arrest.

Pichardo is described as a male Hispanic, shaved head, brown eyes, 5’ 9”, 200 lbs. with numerous tattoos on his arms, chest and back. He was last known to reside in Van Nuys and should be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone having any information regarding this case is asked to call the West Valley Homicide Detectives, at 818-342-0449. On weekends and during off-hours, call the toll free 24-hour ant the Detective Information Desk, at 1-877-Lawfull (1-877-529-3855).

This news release was prepared by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section, at 213 485-3586.