LAPD

San Fernando Valley Shooting Spree Suspect Makes 1st Court Appearance, Pleads Not Guilty

July 29, 2019 - 3:40 pm
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Gerry Zaragoza made his first court appearance after being charged with killing four people including his father and brother during a shooting spree in the San Fernando Valley.

A not guilty plea was entered Monday. He was charged with four counts of capital murder.

LAPD Investigators are focusing on the possible motives behind a deadly rampage across the San Fernando Valley.

Investigators want to know what might have led suspect Gerry Dean Zaragoza to kill family members and a total stranger.

Following Zaragoza’s arrest, Robbery Homicide Division Captain William Hayes said while the killing of two family members and a girlfriend may be related to efforts to get him help for drug and mental health problems, the reason why he killed a man at an Orange Line Stop at Victory and Woodley doesn’t fit that explanation.

Hayes believes once they are able to question Zaragoza's surviving family members and the suspect, they should be in a position to present a case for the District Attorney's Office to file murder and other charges against him by Monday at the latest.

Los Angeles police say they have arrested a man suspected of shooting five people, killing three, in two attacks that took the lives of two of his family members and an acquaintance.

Police spokesman Joshua Rubenstein said Thursday that Gerry Dean Zaragoza had been arrested after an hours-long manhunt.

Police say Zaragoza may also be connected to a fatal shooting in Van Nuys and an attempted robbery outside a bank in Canoga Park.

Los Angeles police say a man tried to rob someone outside a bank in the San Fernando Valley after allegedly shooting five people, three of them fatally, at his family's apartment and a gas station.

Police had initially said Gerry Dean Zaragoza tried to commit a robbery Thursday morning at a Bank of America branch in Canoga Park but they did not know if it was inside or outside the bank.

Authorities say they have not received any reports of injuries and no property was taken in that incident. It was not clear if the victim was a customer or bank employee.

Police say Zaragoza allegedly shot three family members, killing two, in a Canoga Park apartment before shooting a man and a woman at a gas station in North Hollywood. The woman, believed to be an acquaintance, died and the man is in critical condition.

Here is a timeline of the terror as it unfolded across the San Fernando Valley:

2 a.m.: LAPD responds to a report of a shooting in the 21900 block of Roscoe Boulevard in Canoga Park. Police arrive to find Gerry Dean Zaragoza's father and brother dead at the scene. The suspect's mother is wounded and transported to a local hospital.

2:45 a.m.: Two employees are shot at a gas station near Vineland and Vanowen in North Hollywood. A female victim, identified as an acquaintance of Zaragoza, dies of her wounds. A male victim is hospitalized and is in unknown condition.

8 a.m.: Officers swarm a Bank of America at Sherman Way and Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Canoga Park, to arrive to a scene of an attempted robbery of a man using an ATM machine. The suspect, who matches Zaragoza's description, escapes before police arrive.

12:52 p.m.: A passenger on an Orange Line bus is shot and killed as the bus is exiting the Metro Woodley Station in Lake Balboa. A witness identifies the shooter as Zaragoza, and says the victim was shot in the head, police say. Officers descend on the area and establish a 10-block perimeter as the search for the suspect continues.

About 2 p.m.: Police take Zaragoza into custody in Canoga Park. There is some physical altercation. He is conscious and does not appear to be seriously injured as he is placed on a gurney and into an ambulance, then transported away from the scene. A firearm is recovered, the LAPD says.

3 p.m.: Police hold a news conference in Lake Balboa announcing their investigation has connected the suspect to all four crime scenes.
 

The suspect was identified as 26-year-old Gerry Dean Zaragoza of Canoga Park.

The father of the suspect was in the carpet cleaning business and on Thursday, his boss was distraught: