A story for every victim

Lina Romero, 31

Lina Romero, a 31-year-old Latina, died Thursday, Feb. 3, a month after she was shot in the 600 block of Illinois Street in Pomona, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

On the evening of Jan. 4, authorities received a call that a person had been shot near William and Illinois streets, according to a Pomona Police Department news release.

A second call about a shooting victim came in as officers were responding. Police arrived and found Romero with a gunshot wound. She was taken to County-USC Medical Center to be treated for her injuries.

She remained at the medical facility until her death. According to coroner's records, she died from a gunshot wound to the back.

Soon after the shooting, officers "located a suspect vehicle," a 2002 red Honda Accord. It had crashed into a parked car and was abandoned. Police recovered two handguns from inside, officials said.

During the investigation, detectives learned the shooting was gang-related and identified the alleged assailants as Andrew Alvarez, a 22-year-old Latino, and Ruben Vargas, a 34-year-old Latino.

Less than two weeks after the shooting, Alvarez was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and one count of shooting at an inhabited dwelling. Because Romero has since died, officials said one of the attempted murder counts will be amended to murder.

Authorities have also alleged the assault was committed "in association with a criminal street gang with the specific intent to promote, further and assist criminal conduct by gang members." Alvarez is being held in lieu of $1-million bail at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic. His next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 9 at the Pomona Superior Court.

Vargas remains at large, officials said, and he is considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information about the fatal shooting or Vargas' whereabouts is asked to contact Pomona Police Homicide Dets. Freeman or Berger at (909) 620-2095. Callers can remain anonymous.

-- Sarah Ardalani

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