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Alexis Saldana, 18

Alexis Saldana, an 18-year-old Latino, died Saturday, Nov. 18, after he was shot in the 14600 block of Roscoe Boulevard in Van Nuys, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records. 

The night before he died, Saldana was driving a four-door Cressida sedan with some friends when he pulled into the parking lot of a Wendy’s restaurant at 14645 Roscoe Blvd. around 10:50 p.m., LAPD Valley Homicide Det. Steve Castro said. 

A black SUV, possibly an Explorer, followed Saldana’s car into the lot and pulled up beside the Cressida, Castro said. Someone inside the SUV began shooting, Castro said, and Saldana was struck. 

“Saldana gunned his car and drove it right through the front of the restaurant, stopping at the front counter,” Castro said. 

Investigators think three or four people were riding in the car with Saldana, but most ran from the scene, Castro said. One friend stayed behind trying to help Saldana, who had been shot in the head. 

Saldana was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead the following day at 4:44 p.m., according to coroner’s records. 

No one else was injured in the shooting, but just 30 minutes earlier, things could have been much worse, Castro said. 

“Thank God Wendy’s was closed, except for the drive-thru,” he said. “The car took out tables, chairs, the east wall … basically the entire entrance to the restaurant. The employees were working in there, behind the counter, when this car came crashing through.”

Investigators think Saldana was targeted, Castro said, but they don’t have a motive for the shooting and they don’t know whether it was gang-related. 

Police couldn’t confirm reports that there had been an earlier argument between people in the two cars. “We’re still investigating to see if something occurred prior to the shooting,” he said. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Castro at (818) 374-1934. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.  

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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