LOS ANGELES – A man who authorities are now calling a serial killer opened fire on Los Angeles-area streets for five straight days until he was finally arrested, police said.
By then, three people and two dogs were dead, four people were critically injured and 34-year-old Alexander Hernandez was in police custody, Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said at a Tuesday night news conference.
Prosecutors have charged Hernandez with one count of capital murder, two counts of attempted murder and three counts of animal cruelty. He's expected to be arraigned Wednesday, and charges in the other shootings were expected.
"This man is and was a serial killer," said Bill McSweeney, Los Angeles County sheriff's chief of detectives.
Police gave a chronological outline of the shootings investigators believe Hernandez is responsible for. They were apparently random and there was no known link between the victims or motives
— On Aug. 20 at 6 a.m., a 42-year-old woman was shot and wounded in northeast Los Angeles by a lone man in an SUV as she exited a freeway.
— On Aug. 21 at 5 a.m., 48-year-old Gildardo Morales was shot and killed by a man alone in an SUV in the Pacoima area. It's the only death with which Hernandez has been charged so far.
— On Aug. 22 at 11 p.m., a man fired at a couple in a pickup truck in West Hollywood. They escaped without injury.
— On Aug. 23 at 11:30 a.m., a lone man shot three dogs in Pacoima, injuring two of them.
— On Aug. 24 at 5:50 a.m. a man in an SUV fired on five family members, killing a 23-year-old woman. Within an hour, another 29-year-old man and a 59-year-old woman were each shot and killed before Hernandez was arrested by SWAT officers.
Police said Hernandez had a pistol-grip shotgun in his possession that investigators believe was used in the attacks. He has not been cooperative with officers, Albanese said.
Prosecutors didn't know if Hernandez had retained an attorney.
Police believe Hernandez worked alone and is the sole suspect in the shootings. Detectives pieced together the incidents because of the timing, weapon used and descriptions of the vehicle, McSweeney said. Investigators will be reviewing unsolved shootings dating back several years that involve similar descriptions of a tan or gold SUV and shotgun.
Hernandez has served prison time and has four prior convictions, including possession for sale of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance with a firearm, and possession of a firearm by a felon, authorities said.
The charges against Hernandez carry a potential death penalty, and prosecutors plan to ask that he be held without bail.
Tami Abdollah can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/latams