LOS ANGELES (TCD) — A 31-year-old man and his 51-year-old father were arrested Thursday for reportedly killing three different people within a two-mile radius between 2014 and 2018.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Hugo Reynaga told the Los Angeles Times that deputies from the SWAT team served a search warrant and arrested Anthony Velasquez and his father Manuel Velasquez at an East Los Angeles home. Anthony Velasquez was reportedly arrested on suspicion of murder, while his father allegedly worked as a getaway driver and was arrested for accessory to murder.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the first homicide happened on February 10, 2014. Thirty-four-year-old Jesse Avalos allegedly received a call from an acquaintance asking for a jumpstart for his vehicle at approximately 10:50 p.m. near the intersection of Telegraph Road and Arizona Avenue.
A few hours later, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded to a call of an injured person and discovered Avalos dead from "numerous" gunshot wounds. He was reportedly sitting in the driver’s seat of his car and the front hood was open.
The Sheriff’s Department also reports that the second homicide, on July 6, 2015, occurred shortly after a physical altercation involving the victim, 38-year-old Eduardo Robles. Following the fight, the suspect reportedly walked to Robles' vehicle and punctured his tires. About five minutes later, the suspect returned and allegedly shot Robles multiple times in the torso. The Sheriff’s Department reports a suspect was picked up in a light green vehicle by a Hispanic male in his mid- to late 40s with a heavy build.
The most recent killing happened April 22, 2018, at a homeless encampment near the East Los Angeles Courthouse. The suspect allegedly exited a silver PT Cruiser and began searching for 27-year-old Amanda "Nikki" Lopez. He found her sleeping in a tent and reportedly shot her in her upper torso, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Bertha Avalos, the sister of victim Jesse Avalos, told KCAL-TV, "Our brother is truly missed by our family, by his children. And I know this is not going to bring him back, but it brings us some sort of closure."
Manuel Velasquez spoke to KTLA-TV from jail following his arrest Thursday, saying, "If they say I drove him somewhere, I took him somewhere not knowing what he was doing, I don’t even know if he did it. No one knows for sure."
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reports that Anthony Velasquez was booked for murder and is being held on $2 million bail. His father is in the process of being booked and charged. The investigation is ongoing, as authorities are working to locate the firearms connected to the murders.