On Sept. 1, 2018, Pedro Hernandez, 19, was enjoying a family dinner celebrating an older sister’s birthday.
Just before midnight, after the insistence of his friends, he went to pickup his girlfriend and head to a flyer party at a house along the 14500 block of Tyler Avenue in Sylmar.
That was the last time Ofelia Hernandez saw her son alive.
About an hour later, Los Angeles Police Detective Rich Moakley says that Hernandez – a big kid who played football and soccer for Monroe High School – “either intervened or attempted to stop a fight” at the celebration. Someone pulled out a gun and shot him several times. He died at Holy Cross hospital hours later.
His mother didn’t learn his fate until about 9 a.m. on Sunday.
“We didn’t know where he was. They found him at Holy Cross and I didn’t see him alive again,” said Ofelia, whose conversation is often silenced by tears.
Despite the fact that more than 100 people attended the party, the identity of Pedro Hernandez’ killer remains a mystery.
“We have found some resistance in cooperating with the police,” Moakley said during a press conference at Los Angeles Mission Station on Monday, Feb. 4. “Some of the party goers knew the assailants and don’t want to come forward.”
At least two, and maybe three, separate guns were used in the shooting, the detective said.
Moakley admitted to feeling frustrated because there were at least “20 people who were in position to see what happened.”
The mother of the young man affectionately called “Peter” by family and friends said it’s also frustrating for all of them.
“There are so many versions that we don’t really know what happened,” she said.
Juliana Jimenez, Pedro’s older sister, also expressed frustration.
“He needs justice. Do it for him, for our family. He was 19, he was starting his life. Violence, it just needs to end,” Jimenez said, before saying to the killer, “I forgive you.”
To those who were present at the party, she pleaded for help.
“There’s plenty of young people there who saw what happened. If you really think you were his friend, do it for him,” Jimenez added.
Ofelia says she misses everything about her young son, whom she described as a “happy person,” always “giving hugs” and with a smile.
Pedro was working at a Yoshinoya restaurant and planned on studying to become an aviation mechanic.
With all leads exhausted and no new information to solve Pedro’s murder, LA Councilmember Monica Rodriguez and LAPD detectives have announced a $50,000 reward for information to anyone who helps police apprehend his assailant(s).
The information can also be provided anonymously.
Police hope a separate $50,000 reward leads them to solve another case that has baffled them for more than a year.
Just around 9 p.m. on Jan. 11, 2018, two men knocked on the door of the Baltazar home along the 13600 block of Simshaw Avenue in Sylmar.
Their son Gregory, 31, went to answer and after opening the door began arguing with the individuals, one of whom pulled out a gun and shot him in front of his home.
His mother and sister heard the shots, ran to his aid, and found him “bleeding to death,” Detective Eloy Navarro said.
There were few people around the area at the time, but to this day, no one has been arrested.
Police believe Gregory knew his attackers. But interviews with friends have not yielded any possible leads for his assailants.
For parents Rosalia and Gregorio Baltazar, this year has been one without a single day of peace.
“I ask that you have mercy, give my son justice. He, nor anybody, deserves to have their lives taken this way,” Rosalia pleaded.
“I beseech you that we don’t lose more lives,” she added. “This is a nightmare we’re living every day.”
“When they kill a son, they also kill a family,” Gregorio said. “They have done a great harm to our family.”
Councilmember Rodriguez also asked for help “to assure these families can finally have some peace.”
“These young men were taken far too young in their lives,” she said.
If you have any information regarding any of these murders, call (818) 374-1938, (818) 374-1942 or (818) 374-1943.