LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A man was charged today with the killings of three people in the East Los Angeles area between 2014 and 2018, while his father was charged in connection with one of the slayings.
Anthony Velasquez, 31, is charged with three counts of murder along with allegations that he personally used a firearm in the Feb. 11, 2014, killing of Jesus Antonio Avalos; the July 6, 2015, slaying of Eduardo Robles; and the April 22, 2018, killing of Amanda Nicole Lopez.
His father, Manuel Velasquez, 51, is charged with one count of murder for Robles' killing and one count of being an accessory after the fact with knowledge of a crime between Sept. 2 and Sept. 23 -- the latter date on which the two were arrested in East Los Angeles.
At their first court appearance Monday in connection with the charges, Anthony Velasquez was ordered to be held in lieu of $6 million bail, while his father's bail was set at $2 million.
Both men remain jailed while awaiting arraignment Nov. 18 at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse.
Avalos, 33, was found shot to death on Feb. 11, 2014, at about 3:25 a.m. in the 4800 block of East Telegraph Road.
About four hours before he was killed, Avalos received a call from an acquaintance asking him to go to the location to jump-start a vehicle, and he went there to help, according to Los Angeles County sheriff's Capt. Joe Mendoza.
Avalos was found shot to death while seated in the driver's seat of his SUV, Mendoza said. Two suspects were seen leaving the area.
Robles, 38, was fatally shot on July 6, 2015, at about 7:30 p.m. after he got into a fight with a suspect in the driveway of a residence in the 4300 block of Eagle Street, Mendoza said at a news conference last month.
About 15 to 20 people were at the location at the time but none provided information leading to the arrest of the suspect, Mendoza said.
Lopez, 27, was fatally shot on April 22, 2018, at about 2:40 a.m., as she slept in a tent near a homeless encampment in the 200 block of Fetterly Avenue in front of the East Los Angeles field office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, Mendoza said.
Security video showed the gunman, who wore a mask, getting out of a light-colored Chrysler PT Cruiser and firing into the tent, Mendoza said. The suspect went to the encampment looking for Lopez, Mendoza said. After the shooting, the gunman ran to the PT Cruiser, which was driven by another man, and it sped off.
However, once he was inside the vehicle, the gunman took off his mask, and witnesses saw his face, Mendoza said. Composite drawings were circulated of the two men, as was security video from the crime scene.
Ballistics evidence showed that the same gun was used in the first two killings, according to the sheriff's captain. The driver is believed to have accompanied the gunman in the second and third killings, Mendoza said.
Avalos' sister, Maria, appealed last month for the public's help in solving the killings.
“I think I speak for my family as well as the other families – we don't have closure, we don't have justice ...,'' Maria Avalos said. “All of these families are still suffering. Please help us. Please come forward with any information you have.''
In July, an $80,000 reward had been approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for help solving the crimes.
“While we can never bring back those whose lives were unfortunately taken, my hope (is) that the families, who have been so tragically affected, can find some sense of peace by this news,'' Solis, who sponsored the reward, said in a statement last week.
It was not immediately clear if anyone will receive the reward money.
Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.