Editor's note: These are Police/Fire stories from areas of the San Fernando Valley not covered by Patch. Check Encino-Tarzana Patch, Northridge-Chatsworth Patch, North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch, Sherman Oaks Patch, Studio City Patch, and Woodland Hills Patch for news in those areas.
A 25-year-old man was shot and killed Thursday in a Sylmar house known for drug trafficking.
Witnesses said three men in a silver Mercedes-Benz stopped at the driveway in front of the house at 15808 Roxford St., which has two large entry gates guarding the driveway, Officer Karen Rayner of the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations Section said.
Other witnesses heard gunfire and saw a man staggering from the property, then collapse a few hundred feet away on Telfair Avenue. The Mercedes- Benz sped away, according to Rayner.
The man, who died at the hospital, was a resident at the property, which included a duplex and several horse stables, Rayner said.
"It appears this was either a drug deal gone bad or a drug rip off," said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the LAPD's Mission Division.
As officers searched the property for more victims or hiding suspects they saw two bricks of cocaine sitting in plain sight on a trunk in a stable, Vernon said.
Before continuing to search, police decided to get a search warrant.
"In addition to the usual criminal investigation in these cases, we will also pursue other avenues to mitigate this problem location," Vernon said.
"There were kids' toys and clothes in the yard and the buildings did not look like they were constructed by code, so this might give the county and the city a way to intervene with social workers to protect the children and perhaps abate the property so we can eliminate this nuisance once and for all.
"If this is a rental, the landlord can be held accountable to make changes."
About a year ago, police investigated a home invasion robbery at the property where drugs and money were the apparent motive, Vernon said.
Police called to the shooting scene about 2:45 p.m., Rayner said.
Anyone with information on the shooting was asked to call Mission Division homicide detectives at (213) 838-9976.
A search was under way Wednesday for three people seen getting into a car and fleeing from a Pacoima shopping center immediately after a 33-year-old man sitting in a car was fatally wounded in what police described as a drug-related shooting.
The gunfire broke out at Plaza Romo in the 14000 block of Van Nuys Boulevard around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, said Lt. Paul Vernon of the Los Angeles Police Department's Mission Detective Division. The victim was found sitting in a white Nissan, shot at least twice, and died as paramedics were taking him to a hospital, he said.
Two men and a woman who had been seen hanging around the stores at the plaza quickly got into a black 2006 or 2007 Nissan after the gunfire and sped off, hitting at least one vehicle as they left, Vernon said.
"We'd like to speak to the three persons who left in the black Nissan," Vernon said. "The circumstances of the shooting and some evidence left behind tend to show this shooting was motivated by narcotics sales."
The three people being sought were described as Hispanic. One of the men was heavily tattooed, with the letter "P" on his head, "Pacoima" on his upper lip, and musical notes on an ear, he said. The woman had blonde hair.
Anyone with information on the shooting was urged to contact Detective Ryan Verna of the Mission Homicide Unit at (818) 838-9976.
Authorities Thursay arrested a man in a fatal, drug-related shooting. Geraldo Romero Lopez, 23, of Arleta, was arrested at his home in the 9000 block of Arleta Avenue and booked on suspicion of homicide, Lt. Paul Vernon of the Mission Station said.
The name of the dead man was unavailable this afternoon. A coroner's spokesman said his next of kin had not been notified yet.
Gunfire broke out at Plaza Romo in the 14000 block of Van Nuys Boulevard around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, and police found the victim in a white Nissan, shot at least twice.
Witnesses told police two men and a woman fled in a car, colliding with another vehicle as they pulled out of the parking lot.
Police got a description of one suspect: a Hispanic man, tattooed with the letter "P" on his head, "Pacoima" on his upper lip, and musical notes on an ear. He was later identified as Lopez.
"Lopez was the suspect, described by witnesses, as having distinct tattoos of 'P' on his head and 'Pacoima' on his lip," Vernon said.
Police also seized a black Toyota that had collision damage consistent with the accident.
"Amazingly, Lopez' mother and brother were stopped driving (the) Toyota from the house this morning toward a body shop to repair the damage," Vernon said.
Detectives still sought a man in his 30s who was wearing a fedora.
A woman was questioned and later released without being booked for a crime, Vernon said.
Anyone with more information about the shooting or the name of the at- large suspect was urged to call detectives at (818) 838-9976.
Arraignment was postponed today for San Fernando Councilwoman Maribel de la Torre, who is charged with a pair of misdemeanors stemming from a fight with a then-fellow council member with whom she had an affair.
De la Torre is charged with misdemeanor battery and vandalism under $400 for the alleged June 28 fight with Mario F. Hernandez, who has insisted, to no avail, that he does not want her prosecuted. The vandalism charge refers to damage to a laptop computer and a picture frame, according to the District Attorney's Office.
She could face a maximum sentence of two years behind bars and a $3,000 fine.
Prosecutors and San Fernando police say de la Torre went to Hernandez's home, a fight ensued, and the councilwoman threw a computer to the floor.
De la Torre and Hernandez each took out restraining orders against the other shortly after the confrontation. Earlier this week, they both went back to court and had the restraining orders dismissed.
Hernandez admitted during a council meeting in November that he had an affair with de la Torre. His wife was in the council audience when he made the announcement. He resigned from the council earlier this month, saying he hoped his departure "will help continue to heal the city."
Both de la Torre and Hernandez were in court for today's brief hearing. San Fernando Superior Court Commissioner Martin Gladstein issued a low-level no- harassment order, allowing the pair to meet and discuss the case.
Her attorney, Robert K. Steinberg, said the parties were working toward a resolution of the case.
Outside court, de la Torre said she planned to continue doing her job as a council member and had no intention of resigning despite the court case and a pending recall election against her.
"I'm not guilty," she said. "I acted in self-defense."
De la Torre is due back in court Aug. 21.
San Fernando Mayor Brenda Esqueda is also the subject of a November recall election. Hernandez was also targeted prior to his resignation from the council.
A gang member pleaded guilty this week to first-degree murder and other charges for the November 2003 shooting of a rookie Burbank police officer and was immediately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
David A. Garcia, 28, had faced a possible death sentence if he had gone to trial for the Nov. 15, 2003, slaying of 26-year-old Officer Matthew Pavelka. In addition to the sentence of life in prison without parole, he also received an additional term of 25 years to life.
Garcia eluded arrest after a fierce gunbattle in the parking lot of a Ramada Inn near Burbank Airport that left Pavelka and Garcia's alleged accomplice, Ramon Aranda, 25, dead. Pavelka's partner, Officer Gregory Campbell, suffered gunshot wounds to the stomach and neck but survived.
About 200 officers -- including some from the Burbank, Glendale and Los Angeles police departments, the FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department -- followed up on leads on Garcia's possible whereabouts after the shootout, and he was arrested on Thanksgiving Day 2003 in Tijuana.
Pavelka was the first Burbank police officer killed in the line of duty.