Update: Authorities say false rumor of affair fueled killing of Larry Duran Jr.
A reader asked for an update in the Nov. 28, 2009 killing of Larry Duran Jr., a 29-year old Latino whose alleged shooter had been on the run from authorities.
At the time of his death, authorities said Duran was confronted at his place of work about 1 p.m. by Julio Rodriguez, a 31-year-old Latino. After arguing with Duran, who was working in the 16100 block of Nordhoff Street in North Hills, Rodriguez allegedly ordered him into his car, drove him to an alley, then shot him several times as he tried to escape, police said.
Rodriguez then fled in his car. Witnesses told detectives that the pair had been in a dispute because Duran was having an affair with Rodriguez’s girlfriend.
Duran was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:36 p.m., according to coroner’s records.
After two months on the run, U.S. Marshalls arrested Rodriguez on Jan. 27 in connection with Duran’s death, according to Det. Floyd Walton of the LAPD’s Devonshire division.
Walton, who handled the investigation, said that after Duran’s death Rodriguez fled the country and was staying in either Mexico or El Salvador, his place of birth. For about a month, Walton spoke with Rodriguez several times a week by cellphone and was able to finally convince him to return to the States.
In their conversations, Rodriguez denied killing Duran, Walton said. As to why he fled the country, Rodriguez told Walton that he had friends that were convicted of crimes they did not commit and he didn’t want to face the same fate, according to the detective.
Rodriguez has been charged with one count of murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. He is in custody at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic and is represented by Henry Halpern of Halpern & Halpern. His attorney declined to give a statement. Rodriguez has pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him.
According to court records, over the last decade Rodriguez has been found guilty of several felonies including one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon/narcotics addict in 2004 and one count of infliction of corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant in 2001. He spent time in prison for both convictions.
The Times initially reported that authorities believed that Rodriguez shot Duran because he was having an affair with Rodriguez’s girlfriend.
Walton said they have since determined that there had been no affair between Duran and Rodriguez’s girlfriend. Rodriguez’s anger, Walton said, was fueled by rumors.
Since Duran’s death, his family has been feeling a flurry of emotions, Walton said. They do not know why Rodriguez, who was Duran’s good friend for a couple of years, would kill their family member. Sadness is especially heightened, Walton said, because Duran’s girlfriend is currently pregnant with their child, who will be born without a father.
Duran’s mother and stepfather declined to give a statement about his death but confirmed Walton’s account of their feelings.
-- Sarah Ardalani
Photos: Top: Larry Duran Jr. Credit: Family photo. Right: Julio Rodriguez, a 31-year-old Latino, is accused of killing Larry Duran Jr., a 29-year-old Latino. Credit: LAPD