Alexander Hernandez, a 34-year-old Sylmar man, was charged Tuesday with murder and other alleged crimes after he went on a shooting rampage on the streets in San Fernando, Sylmar and Pacoima, per KTLA. Hernandez went on a shooting spree for five days straight.
The police finally caught a break when Hernandez shot three dogs, killing two and injuring the third in a Pacoima neighborhood. Los Angeles Times reveals the owners of the dogs told investigators when they arrived on the scene they “recognized the shooter as a man whose tan SUV broke down in front of their house the week before.”
It wasn’t until Sunday Hernandez was tracked down at a house at 13700 block of Kismet Avenue around the time of 8:30 p.m. At that time, he was only wanted for questioning regarding the fatal shootings of the dogs. However, Hernandez must have thought the police knew more because he created a standoff with the SWAT team. He lost that battle and was brought into custody.
Monday evening, the Los Angeles Police Department were able to link Hernandez to the other shootings and at least one of the murder victims after recovering Hernandez’s weapon, a shotgun with a pistol grip. It was at that time investigators realized they had a serial killer on their hands. Sheriff’s Chief of Detectives Bill McSweeney told the Los Angeles Times,
“Nothing makes a homicide investigator’s heart beat faster than realizing he has a serial killer. This man is and was a serial killer…. I don’t think we will ever have an adequate explanation for these terrible murders. How do you explain anything like this?”
The timeline that investigators have revealed is bone-chilling. According to MSN and KTLA, here is how the police have laid it out for the courts to determine Hernandez’s fate:
- Wednesday, August 20 at 6 a.m., a 42-year-old woman was shot and wounded as she was exiting the interstate
- Thursday, August 21 at 5:50 a.m., 48-year-old Gildardo Morales was found shot to death in his truck at a Pacoima intersection, the engine still running. This is the only murder with which Hernandez has been officially charged at this point.
- Friday, August 22 at 11:00 p.m., a couple were driving when a tan/gold SUV drove alongside them and began shooting. The couple was not injured, but had evidence of several gun shots in their car.
- On Saturday, August 23 at 11:30 a.m., three dogs were shot at a home in Pacoima, killing two of the dogs and injuring the third.
- On Sunday, August 24 at 5:50 a.m., a family of five were shot at on their way to church. The wheelchair bound 23-year-old daughter, Mariana Franco, was fatally shot, the parents, Jose and Beatriz Franco, were shot and critically injured, and their other two children suffered minor injuries. A mere 45 minutes later, “an unidentified 29-year-old man was fatally shot while collecting bottles and cans at the Sylmar Recreational Center.” Minutes later 59-year-old Gloria Esperanza Tober was shot and killed while sitting in her car in a Pacoima church parking lot waiting for her friend to arrive.
All of these crimes were reported to have been by a lone man driving a tan or gold SUV. According to KTLA, “the DA’s office reveals that for the incidents on Aug. 21, 22 and 23, Hernandez was charged Tuesday with one count of murder with the special circumstance of shooting at an occupied vehicle, two counts of attempted murder, one count of shooting at an occupied vehicle and three counts of animal cruelty.”
KTLA goes on to report that Hernandez “was also charged with two counts of discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, one count of possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of ammunition.” McSweeney has revealed that investigators (more than 70 of them) will continue to investigate shootings in years past that involve Hernandez’s same vehicle to determine if he is responsible for any others.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Hernandez has been in trouble with the law previously. According to MSN, Hernandez has been in jail for not one or two, but FOUR prior convictions for such crimes as “possession for sale of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance with a firearm, and possession of a firearm by a felon” in addition to a restraining order filed against him in 2010 by a former girlfriend. Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese, who heads the LAPD’s detective bureau, reveals per Los Angeles Times that they have yet to find a motive and states that Hernandez is being very uncooperative with the investigators. So uncooperative, in fact, that Hernandez refused to leave his jail cell and failed to show up at court for his arraignment Tuesday afternoon. What? How can he refuse to leave his jail cell for his arraignment? Isn’t there such a thing as handcuffs, shackles with a weighted ball and a taser? That should get him there.
Instead, a judge issued a warrant for him to appear in court Wednesday. Taser….warrant….it’s anybody’s guess as to which would work better.
The charges brought against Hernandez could constitute the death penalty. That remains to be seen if that will come into play. Prosecutors do, however, plan to ask that he be held without bail. Let’s all hope so!
Photo Credit: Bellinghamherald.com, MSN.com, KTLA.com