Antelope Valley Press

Two charged in random shooting spree that left four dead


LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Two men suspected in a random shooting spree in southeaste­rn Los Angeles County that left four people dead, including a 14-year-old boy, and two others injured, were charged Thursday with four counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

Gary Garcia Jr., 42, and Timberland Wayne McKneely, 20, are “alleged to have embarked on a random and brutal shooting spree in Bell, Huntington Park, Cudahy and unincorpor­ated areas of LA County” on Sunday and Monday, District Attorney George Gascón told reporters during a morning news conference at his downtown Los Angeles headquarte­rs.

“They all appear to have been targeted randomly as they merely moved about their daily life,” the district attorney said, calling it a “random shooting spree that shook the foundation and sense of safety of our community.”

The two were set to be arraigned Thursday in a courtroom in Downey on the charges, which include the special-circumstan­ce allegation­s of multiple murders and shooting from a motor vehicle causing death.

Garcia and McKneely could face life in prison without the possibilit­y of parole if convicted as charged, according to Gascón.

Prosecutor­s will ask that Garcia and McKneely be held without bail, the district attorney said, noting that Garcia had a “very, very minimal record” and that McKneely had no prior criminal record.

The first shooting occurred around 11:30 p.m. Sunday in the 6500 block of Bear Avenue in Bell, authoritie­s said. That shooting left 24-year-old Kevin Parada dead. A 29-year-old man was also fired upon, but was not injured, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Shortly after midnight, another fatal shooting occurred Monday in the nearby unincorpor­ated Florence-Firestone area. That victim, described as a 27-year-old Hispanic man, was not immediatel­y identified.

Two boys — both Hispanic — were shot a short time later near Ellen Ochoa Learning Center in Cudahy. One of them, 14-year-old Javier Pedraza Jr. of Cudahy, was pronounced dead at the scene. The second boy — a 13-year-old — was taken in what was described as stable condition to a hospital.

The fourth shooting occurred about 2:40 a.m. Monday. That man, also Hispanic, was not immediatel­y identified, but Huntington Park Police Department Chief Cosme Lozano said he was known to be a local homeless man who was “simply walking down the street.”

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