Jason Zapata, 19
Jason Zapata, a 19-year-old Latino, was fatally shot on Thursday, Oct. 25, in the 11800 block of Louise Avenue in Lynwood, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.
Investigators believe Zapata and his companion, Jonathan Flores, 24, drove to the south end of Louise Avenue, a cul-de-sac that butts up against the southwest section of the 105 and 710 freeways interchange, to meet someone shortly after 1 p.m., said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Derrick Alfred.
The two were in Zapata’s car, a gold-colored, 1990s Mercedes Benz. Investigators believe Zapata was driving and Flores was the front seat passenger, Alfred said.
Deputies were called to the scene at 1:29 p.m. regarding a gunshot victim. Witnesses reported coming outside when they heard gunfire and seeing a light-colored sedan racing away, with three people inside.
Zapata was found lying in the street with a gunshot wound to the head, Alfred said. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:38 p.m., according to coroner’s records.
Investigators found Zapata’s car around 4:30 p.m., when they were called to an alley between the 11600 block of Pope Avenue and El Granada Avenue, Alfred said. His companion was inside the car, with a gunshot wound to the head.
Flores was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:04 p.m., according to coroner’s records.
People who were driving down the alley around 1:30 p.m. told investigators they saw the Mercedes pull into the one-way alley, heading south, and park in the middle of the block. The alley is about three-quarters of a mile north of where Zapata was found, on the other side of the 105 Freeway, Alfred said.
When those people returned around 4:50 p.m., they noticed the car was still parked in the alley, Alfred said. When they went to investigate, they saw Flores slumped inside, in the front passenger seat.
Investigators don’t have a description of the shooters, Alfred said. It’s possible there was a chase car that picked them up after they left Flores in the alley, but no one saw a second car pull into the alley, he said.
It’s not clear why Zapata and Flores went to Louise Avenue that afternoon, Alfred said.
“We are hoping to find surveillance video that will tell us more, but it looks like they were lured there,” he said. “Maybe it was a failed carjacking but we don’t know if anything was stolen. We think they went there to meet up with somebody and that person, for whatever reason, killed him and his associate.”
Neither Zapata nor his companion had any gang affiliations, Alfred said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.
For the Record
Oct. 29, 2018 6:25 p.m.: A previous version of this article described Jason Zapata as black. He was Latino.