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Suspect in fatal shootings charged with murder

Posted: August 26, 2014 4:10 p.m.
Updated: August 26, 2014 4:10 p.m.

Sgt. Frank Preciado of the Los Angeles Police Department describes shootings which took place early Sunday morning in the San Fernando Valley, which left 3 people dead.

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Prosecutors on Tuesday charged a suspect in three Los Angeles-area weekend killings with murder in an earlier shooting.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office said 34-year-old Alexander Hernandez of Sylmar was charged with capital murder for killing 48-year-old Gildardo Morales as he drove his pickup truck to work on Aug. 21 in Pacoima.

Hernandez was also charged with attempted murder and animal cruelty in other random shootings over the past five days, authorities said.

On Aug. 22, police say Hernandez fired at a couple in their vehicle in West Hollywood. They weren't injured. The following day he drove by a Pacoima house and shot three dogs, killing two, authorities said.

Then on Sunday, police say, he killed three people within an hour. He has not been charged in those deaths.

Hernandez was charged with one count of murder with a special circumstance of shooting at an occupied vehicle, two counts of attempted murder, three counts of animal cruelty, two counts of discharge of a firearm with gross negligence and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of ammunition.

The district attorney's office said Hernandez has four prior convictions, including possession for sale of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance with a firearm, and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Hernandez is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday and remains held on $1 million bail. The charges carry a potential death penalty, and prosecutors will ask that he be held without bail.

Prosecutors called the shootings random and police said there was no indication of a link among the victims. Police believe Hernandez worked alone and is the sole suspect in Sunday's shootings.

Detectives for the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department are continuing to investigate.

Hernandez is also being looked at as a potential suspect in several other unsolved cases that may have also involved a tan- or gold-colored SUV and the use of a shotgun.

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