Los Angeles Police Department detectives have identified and issued an arrest warrant for a 24-year-old man wanted for the July road-rage murder of a North Hollywood resident in Arleta.
Luis Alberto Gutierrez Jr. was identified as the shooter in the July 13 road-rage incident that caused the death of Richard Ruiz, 22, of North Hollywood, according to a communiqué issued by the LAPD media relations sections Thursday.
“We received a number of tips in this case, but it was one from Gutierrez’s employer that broke the case open,” the communiqué quoted Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division, as saying. “But as soon as we started inquiring about Gutierrez, he abandoned his job and has been on the run ever since.”
According to the LAPD, Gutierrez is a member of a local San Fernando Valley street gang that goes by the moniker, “Green Eyes.” Ruiz’s passengers recalled the Gutierrez’s striking green eyes as his gray Challenger overtook the victim’s red Kia and he was fired at in the neck, the communiqué said.
“Our victim was a nice kid, with no gang ties or criminal history,” Vernon said. “He and his friends were on their way to play basketball that afternoon when Gutierrez decided to rage for no good reason.”
An employee at the North Hollywood business where Gutierrez worked noticed that the suspect was acting aloof in the days following the murder and had changed his appearance, according to the LAPD news statement.
When detectives received the vital tipoff a few weeks after the shooting, they visited the business, but Gutierrez walked off his job and never returned, the statement said. Detectives found his Challenger abandoned, covered in dust, in Montebello a few weeks later.
Gutierrez has been on the run since early August, the communiqué said, adding that he is on probation for carrying a loaded gun and has missed appointments with his probation officer.
“We believe he is still in the area, but might be going back and forth to Mexico,” the LAPD statement quoted Vernon as saying.
Anyone with information about Gutierrez or the shooting incident is urged to call Det. Ryan Verna, Mission Homicide Unit, at (818) 838-9976. Anonymous tips can be called into Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.