The San Fernando Police Department (SFPD) continues to investigate a shooting that left a man dead and two others injured on Friday, Dec. 23.
German Servin, 37, a recent transplant to San Fernando, died in the backyard of a home in the 400 block of Harps Avenue at around 1 p.m., prompting the SFPD and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department — which assisted in the response — to cordon off the area and search for the attacker for several hours without success.
“We still hope to have a suspect identified shortly,” SFPD Chief Anthony Vairo told the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol this week.
But Vairo said part of the difficulty in identifying the suspect is that the male eyewitness to the tragic events remains hospitalized and hasn’t been able to provide information to police.
The hospitalized witness “is the brother of the (fatal) victim. He is in an induced coma and we haven’t been able to talk with him,” Vairo said.
Once they can talk to him, Vairo said, investigators will show the witness some photos of potential suspects.
A woman was also shot, and remains hospitalized. The female victim appears to be a friend of the victims.
“She just happened to be coming out of the residence. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Vairo noted.
Even though the female victim is cooperating with police, “her information is limited,” he said.
When officers arrived at the scene, they found the female victim in front of the residence. She was suffering from a gunshot wound to her lower abdomen, according to Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Sheriff’s Department.
She directed officers to the rear yard of the residence where the two male victims were found with gunshot wounds.
One of them, later identified as Servin, died at the scene.
Almost simultaneously, reports were received of a man with a gun seen jumping residential fences in the area, Navarro-Suarez said.
A perimeter was established, and an exhaustive search with the assistance of multiple law enforcement agencies concluded shortly before 9 p.m. on Friday, but the suspect was not found, Navarro-Suarez said.
The other male victim was transported to the hospital in critical condition with a gunshot wound to his upper body, Navarro-Suarez said. The woman was transported to a local hospital and listed in stable condition.
A description of the shooter was not immediately available and the weapon used in the shooting has not been recovered, Navarro-Suarez said.
Vairo said at this time investigators believe the suspect is a Hispanic male in his 20s or 30s.
Not a Random Shooting
The chief said police also believe the suspect remains in Los Angeles County.
“We got some great leads and we hope to have some updates soon,” he said.
He said there was no evidence of a party going on. “We think one or two of the victims live at the location — the brothers — and the female was visiting.”
Vairo also noted that “this was not a random shooting. I think it was targeted.” Because the investigation is ongoing, however, Vairo said he couldn’t provide more details about that theory.
The shooting and police operation that followed shocked a city where homicides are few.
The last killing reported in the city of about 23,000 people was that of Alan Paul Bartley in May, who was shot by police officers after the 56-year-old rammed his vehicle against a patrol car and then fled the scene. After leading police on a short chase, hitting a vehicle and crashing into a light post, he was shot by officers when he went around the back of the car and agents thought he was reaching for a gun.
The last violent incident before that was Aug. 2, 2014, when Mariana Franco, 23, was shot and killed in the 1400 block of Celis Street.
Franco was riding in a car with her parents and two siblings when she was shot about 5:50 a.m. Franco died at the scene. The family had been driving to early morning Mass when the shooting occurred. Both parents were also shot and injured in the attack.
The attack was part of a random series of fatal shootings allegedly committed the same day in Sylmar and Pacoima by Alexander Hernandez, a Sylmar resident who remains behind bars.
If you have information about the shooting on Harps Street, call the San Fernando Police Department at (818) 898-1267.