Alexander Hernandez, 34, a Sylmar man is the sole suspect in the killing of three people on Sunday in the City of San Fernando, Sylmar and Pacoima.
Hernandez was charged Tuesday, August 26, with one count of capital murder and attempted murder, but not for the fatal shootings in the Northeast Valley, he was charged for the shootings last week in the Pacoima area and West Hollywood.
Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said in an afternoon news conference “they have time to build their case.”
Law Agencies Combine Efforts
LAPD Working in Tandem with City of San Fernando Police Department and the Sherriff’s Department.
Albanese began the news conference by offering condolences to the families of the shooting victims.
“On behalf of the agencies — the Sheriff’s Department, LAPD, Charlie Beck, the chief of [LAPD], the Chief of San Fernando Robert Parks — all of us want to offer our deepest collective condolences.
“Our hearts go out to the families that lost their loved ones. They were truly innocent victims. They’re dealing with the sudden loss of their family. And I will tell you that law enforcement is committed to staying on this around the clock until we successfully solve each of these cases and prosecute each of these cases with the District Attorney’s office.” Albanese said.
Hernandez is considered the primary suspect in seven shootings, and police now say the shootings were all carried out by a single suspect in an SUV with a shotgun. He emphasized that when Hernandez was arrested Sunday night, he had a shotgun in his possession.
“By the time that Hernandez was arrested he had a pistol grip shotgun in his possession and we are confident that we have the right man and we don’t believe that the public is at risk,”Albanese said.
Hernandez is eligible for the death penalty.
Hernandez is Classified as a Serial Killer
“I’d like to point out the obvious related to this investigation, ” said William McSweeney, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Chief of Detectives. “Nothing makes a homicide investigator’s heart beat faster than realizing he has a serial killer. That’s what this man was.”
McSweeney said Hernandez’ way of operating was not what police are accustomed to seeing, but it was clear that he “was and is a serial killer.”
“Unlike many of you who believe that police agencies compete in efforts like this…we were all on the same team on this”, McSweeney said. “And we can credit the outcome of this case to that teamwork. All the law enforcement community came together and resolved this serial killling spree in just a matter of days. And we were in a very urgent mode as police agencies to resolve this quickly.”
Hernandez has been charged with murdering Gildardo Morales, 48, a tile worker who was shot and killed August 21 while driving his pickup truck to work in Pacoima. The murder charge includes the special circumstance allegation of murder during a drive-by shooting.
Hernandez is also charged with two counts of attempted murder for allegedly firing upon a husband and wife who were in their vehicle in West Hollywood August 22. The Westside couple was reported to have identified Hernandez in a lineup.
Hernandez is also charged with three counts of animal cruelty for allegedly shooting three dogs at a house in Pacoima, killing two and injuring the third, on August 23. Hernandez was already on the radar of animal control officers after they received reports of animal cruelty.
He is also charged with two counts of discharge of a firearm with gross negligence and one count each of shooting at an occupied vehicle, possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of ammunition, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Investigators believe Hernandez’ shooting rampage began on Aug. 20 in Atwater Village where a 42-year-old woman was shot.
Albanese encouraged people who may have additional information to come forward.
“It’s really important that anybody who has information relative to what we’re talking about here makes law enforcement aware of it. ”
Albanese said that police have “learned a lot since Sunday,” and believes there is additional information out there that they still need to learn about.
“This is obviously an ongoing investigation and we’re working very closely with the District Attorney’s Office … to ensure that we continue to methodically build the evidence necessary to successfully prosecute this individual,” Albanese said.
“Our scientific investigation division is working around the clock in that regard. We anticipate charges will be filed on the three homicides that occurred in the San Fernando Valley on Sunday in the next several days to weeks. We’re very confident of that. We believe we have the right man.”
“Hopefully the public gained some confidence in the quality of our work, and let us hope they stopped fearing this particular individual, because we’re confident the spree is over,” McSweeney said.