NORTHRIDGE (CNS) — Authorities said they have arrested a woman who was accompanying a man being sought as a suspect in the fatal shooting of another man in Northridge on New Year’s Eve.
Jorge Reyes Jr., 23, was shot about 6 p.m. Dec. 31 outside a KFC restaurant in the 8600 block of Balboa Boulevard and died at the scene, the Los Angeles Police Department said.
On Jan. 18, LAPD detectives released security video of the alleged gunman, accompanied by a woman — described at that time as a person of interest — and they sought public help to find the pair.
On Monday night, the woman — identified as Mallely Espinoza, 28, of Van Nuys — was arrested, said LAPD Officer Mike Lopez. Espinoza was booked on suspicion of being an accessory and was held in lieu of $1 million bail, Lopez said. The alleged killer remains at large, Lopez said.
According to police, Reyes and two friends drove to the restaurant, and he waited in the car while the driver went inside.
That’s when another man approached the car, and the pair — who apparently knew one another — got into an argument, police said. The suspect then pulled out a gun and shot Reyes, police said.
According to police, the gunman then got into an older-model car and sped off, accompanied by a woman, alleged by authorities to be Espinoza. Two young boys may have been in the vehicle with the suspect and the woman, police said.
Police believe Reyes and the heavily tattooed gunman may have glared at one another for some reason.
“It was a perceived disrespect issue,” LAPD Lt. Ryan Verna said at a news conference this morning. “It’s as simple as that — and as ridiculous as that.”
Reyes’ father fought back tears as he appealed for someone to come forward with information.
“Please — call the police,” he said.
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call (877) LAPD-247.