Robert Salinas Jr., 37
Robert Salinas Jr., a 37-year-old Latino, was fatally shot on Sunday, Aug. 12, in the 100 block of East First Street in Pomona, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.
Pomona police officers were called to the east end of the train platform at Pomona Station around 4:30 a.m. regarding two men lying unresponsive on the platform, said Pomona Police Sgt. Brian Hagerty. A homeless man had spotted the bodies and went to a nearby business for help, he said.
The officers found two homeless men, Salinas and Jeremy Alexander Henness, a 31-year-old white man, with multiple gunshot wounds, Hagerty said.
Both men were pronounced dead at the scene at 4:44 a.m., according to coroner’s records.
While investigators were at the scene, they got a call from the Ontario Police Department shortly after 5 a.m., saying they had a man on the line who “thinks he may have been involved in a shooting in Pomona,” Hagerty said. “He said he was a little intoxicated or high, but he might have been involved in a shooting.”
Pomona investigators went to the man’s home in Ontario, about seven miles northeast of the Pomona station, and after speaking with him, arrested him on suspicion of two counts of murder, Hagerty said.
The suspect, Christopher Matthew Peterson, 40, lives in Ontario with his wife and children, Hagerty said.
Peterson works as a locomotive engineer for Amtrak, company spokeswoman Olivia Irvin said Aug. 16, but he “has been removed from service pending further investigation.”
He’s been an Amtrak employee since 2010, she said, and his last day of duty was Aug. 10. “He was not on duty before or during the incident.”
Peterson was charged on Aug. 14 with two counts of murder, and is being held without bail, according to Los Angeles County court records. He was scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 16 at the Pomona Courthouse.
Pomona Police Sgt. Jon Edson said the gun investigators found at Peterson’s home was registered to him, but as far as they can determine, he did not have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Investigators are running tests on the gun to determine if it was involved in the shooting, he said.
Irvin said train engineers are not permitted to carry weapons during work.
Investigators don’t have a motive for the shooting, Edson said, but they found drug paraphernalia next to Henness and Salinas, so they suspect the shooting may have been drug related.
Pomona homeless outreach officers had contacted Henness in May to offer him services, “so we know he had been homeless in Pomona for quite a while,” Edson said, and they believe Salinas had also been living homeless in Pomona for some time as well.
The county operates a homeless shelter a couple blocks from the shooting site, he said, but it’s not clear if Henness or Salinas used the services there.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Pomona Police Department at (909) 620-2085. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.