A story for every victim

Matthew Jonathan Luis Hurtado, 28

Matthew Jonathan Luis Hurtado, a 28-year-old Latino, was shot and killed by law enforcement officers on Friday, Oct. 6, in the 700 block of Encanto Parkway in Duarte, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.

Hurtado was wanted in connection with an Oct. 5 shooting at a family gathering in Pasadena in which a 19-year-old man and 16-year-old girl were wounded, Pasadena Police Lt. Jesse Carrillo said. The girl was treated and released, but the man was critically injured and is still hospitalized.

A task force of officers from multiple agencies began looking for Hurtado on Oct. 6, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Joe Mendoza said. Hurtado, a parolee, was considered armed and dangerous. 

At 1 p.m., the task force — comprised of U.S. Marshals and officers from the Pasadena Police Department, Glendale Police Department and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation — found Hurtado inside his parked car in Encanto Park in Duarte, Mendoza said.

What happened next has been contested. During an Oct. 13 news conference, attorney Humberto Guizar said Hurtado was eating ice cream with a friend when officers “appeared from all angles” and surrounded his car. 

“One of the [police] cars crashed into his car, and before he could do anything, before he could get out of the car, they opened fire on him, four different police officers,” said Guizar, who is representing Hurtado’s family. “It was a cowardly way to kill somebody. They didn’t give him a chance.”

Investigators have a different version of events. When officers surrounded Hurtado’s car, Mendoza said, “they began to give him orders, and he began to ram one of the officers’ duty vehicles with his car, and then the shooting occurred.”

Hurtado and a friend, 36-year-old Nicole Strohm, were both struck by gunfire and taken to a hospital. Hurtado was pronounced dead at 2 p.m., according to coroner’s records.

Strohm was treated for minor injuries and arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, Mendoza said. 

Mendoza said the officers thought Hurtado was going to use his car to injure one of them. Four officers shot at Hurtado, Mendoza said — two from Pasadena, one from Glendale and one from the corrections department. 

There are no reports that Hurtado pointed a gun at the officers, Mendoza said, but investigators found a gun in his car. The weapon is being tested to determine whether it was used in the Pasadena shooting.

Investigators think Hurtado went to the Pasadena event with a friend, who wanted to talk to someone at a home in the 1700 block of Summit Avenue.

A group conversation turned into an argument, Carrillo said, and “it quickly escalated to where Mr. Hurtado allegedly pulled a gun.”

Investigators are trying to confirm reports that Hurtado and the 19-year-old shooting victim had met before.

“This is still an active investigation, but we have information that suggests there may have been a feud between Mr. Hurtado and our victim, that kind of refueled at this gathering and led to the shooting,” Carrillo said.

Hurtado had multiple convictions for violent offenses from 2011 to 2015, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records, including battery, domestic violence, carjacking and robbery.

But during the Oct. 13 news conference, Hurtado’s family described him as a loving father and friend.

“All he ever wanted to do was make people laugh,” his sister, Melissa Hurtado said, sobbing.

The family had just viewed Hurtado’s body that morning, said his father, Jose Hurtado. At the conference, his family showed photos of Hurtado, smiling broadly with his young son. 

“There are no words to express the terrible loss our family is going through and what we’ll have to endure for many years to come,” Jose Hurtado said. 

The officers “took it upon themselves to be judge, jury and executioner,” he continued. “The police officers involved could have handled this in an entirely different way, and this could have had a peaceful ending. I know in my heart if Matthew was given a chance, it could have ended differently. … No one should have to die the way my son did.”

Anyone with information about the officer-involved shooting should call the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau air (323) 870-5500. People with information about the shooting in Pasadena on Oct. 5 should call the Pasadena Police Department at (626) 744-4241. 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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