Police in California believe four unsolved fatal shootings over the last six months are part of the same gang-related spree — beginning with the murder of a middle school teacher in August.
Nancy Magaña, 25, was sitting in her parked pickup truck with her boyfriend and 5-year-old son Aug. 17 when two men walked up to the driver’s side window and shot her, San Bernardino police said Wednesday.
Police released surveillance footage showing the suspects’ light-colored sedan driving near Magaña’s truck, which was stopped in the parking lot of a local park.
“No words were exchanged between Magaña and [the people in] that vehicle,” Sgt. Al Tello said at a press conference.
“She was just sitting there with her boyfriend.”
Nearly a month later on Sept. 14, a 21-year-old man driving a red Toyota Camry with his 2-year-old daughter was shot by men in a light-colored sedan, causing him to crash into a guard rail. He survived in critical condition. His daughter died.
Then on Jan. 19, Lemon Hamilton, 24, was found lying shot in the street. A short time later, another person who had apparently fled the scene showed up at a hospital.
Police believe that, in that case, there was a shootout with a group of unidentified men.
Two days later, police found Israel De La Torre, 24, dead on the ground beside his car. Daniel Melendrez, 33, was found dead a couple of blocks away, likely trying to flee the scene, cops said.
Surveillance footage showed a group of men in a car dropping off the killers and then serving as their getaway ride once the murder was committed.
A common thread between the shootings was that they all happened west of the 215 Freeway, an area with a lot of gang activity, according to The Press-Enterprise.
Police said the attacks are believed to be gang-related. Some of the victims were randomly chosen while other may have been known to their attackers.