The fatal shooting that claimed the life of 25-year-old Juan Ricardo in the city’s Poly neighborhood early Sunday morning and the Sunday afternoon officer-involved shooting that left one suspect hospitalized and six total arrested are linked to one long, gang-related crime spree, the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) announced today.
The morning fatal shooting, two officer-involved shootings and additional arrests that afternoon resulted in the recovery of one firearm and requests from the LBPD for information leading to the retrieval of additional firearms. All appear to be connected to numerous robberies, according to the police.
A release from the LBPD stated that at about 3:22AM on Sunday, September 11, officers were dispatched to investigate an attempted robbery on the 100 block of West 9th Street in the Willmore neighborhood, where several suspects allegedly attempted to rob two victims at gunpoint. The victims ran away before the suspects could complete the robbery or cause injury, according to officials.
About 20 minutes later, at about 3:39AM, police arrived at Locust Avenue and East 12th Street in response to an assault with deadly weapon call, where they found a gunshot victim dead on the ground. The victim was later identified as Juan Ricardo Garcia, a Long Beach resident whose loved ones have set up a GoFundMe account for funeral expenses.
Garcia’s death was determined to be gang-related.
At about 3:44AM, officers responded to a call to investigate a robbery involving multiple victims on the 1300 block of East 14th Street. The suspects, who victims said were four individuals driving two vehicles, took money, personal property and one of the victim’s car keys, according to the police report.
Hours later, the suspects returned to the site of the crime on East 14th Street and used the stolen keys to steal a victim’s vehicle.
An investigation throughout the day led the police to a parking lot near Pacific Coast Highway and Lemon Avenue, where they discovered one of the suspect vehicles and multiple suspects, who they believed to be armed and dangerous, according to the release. The robbery victim’s stolen vehicle entered the lot and parked near the suspect vehicle while the police were waiting for assistance.
Detectives proceeded to approach the suspects, who fled on foot and by vehicle.
As one detective attempted to stop a suspect, the suspect ran. The detective then shot and struck the suspect, resulting in the suspect’s transportation to the hospital where he is listed in critical condition. Upon investigation, police discovered the suspect was not in possession of a gun when he was arrested.
Another suspect, fleeing in a vehicle at the same time, hit an unoccupied vehicle and then exited the car, fleeing on foot. A detective shot at him, believing him to be armed, but did not hit the suspect. He ran across the alley and continued to flee out of sight until he was caught “a short time later” in a neighborhood. The suspect did not have a gun when he was arrested, but police have asked for the public to call homicide detectives regarding any gun found in the area.
Three additional suspects were found in a local business next to the parking lot at the same time, according to police. The three were confronted by a detective and “complied with lawful orders to surrender,” being taken into custody without incident. A firearm was found inside the business.
Another suspect fled south from the parking lot, eventually finding shelter at an occupied home on the 1700 block of Lemon Avenue. Officers eventually took the suspect into custody and expect to charge him with residential burglary, according to police officials.
Authorities said they are investigating the complex incident as gang-related and are not releasing information on the suspects so as to not interfere with the integrity of the case.
Detectives are expected to present the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for filing consideration later this week, according to the release.
Anyone with information regarding the robberies or the murder or who locates any firearms in the area of Pacific Coast Highway and Lemon Avenue is urged to call Long Beach Police Homicide Detectives Mark Bigel-Guarino, Todd Johnson, and Shea Robertson at 562.570.7244.
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