Christian Barrera-Rivera, 23
Christian Barrera-Rivera, a 23-year-old Latino, was shot and killed Thursday, June 2, in the 6100 block of Corbin Avenue in Tarzana, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.
Investigators believe Barrera-Rivera and Sonny Demetrio Peña, a 28-year-old Latino, were killed after a drug deal went awry, Los Angeles Police Det. John Doerbecker said.
The two men, both from Merced, were found about 4 p.m. with gunshot wounds inside a black Nissan rental car that had stopped against a curb in the residential neighborhood, Doerbecker said.
Peña, the driver, was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:20 p.m., according to coroner's records. Barrera-Rivera was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead at 5:22 p.m., according to coroner's records.
Investigators believe that Barrera-Rivera and Peña had driven from Merced to sell crystal methamphetamine to two men from Oxnard, Doerbecker said.
The men met in a residential part of Woodland Hills, near the corner of Oso Avenue and Tiara Street. The Oxnard men paid for the drugs, but instead of giving it to the men, Peña and Barrera-Rivera "took the money and just drove away," Doerbecker said.
As Peña and Barrera-Rivera fled, the Oxnard men fired multiple shots at their rental car. The men then got into a 2005 Ford Mustang and followed Peña and Barrera-Rivera about three miles to Tarzana, where more shots were fired, striking Peña, the driver, and ending the pursuit, Doerbecker said.
Detectives found a “large quantity of crystal methamphetamine — more than a pound” a short distance from where the two victims were discovered, he said.
Investigators also found a few hundred dollars on the street near the drugs, and in the rental car, Doerbecker said. No one else was injured during the daylight pursuit and shootings, but “quite a few people have come forward to tell us what they saw,” Doerbecker said.
The Oxnard men, later identified as Guillermo Terán, a 23-year-old Latino and Tomás Ramos Ochoa, a 34-year-old Latino, were each arrested on suspicion of murder on June 3 and June 8 respectively, Doerbecker said.
Terán and Ochoa have been charged with two counts of murder with the special circumstance allegations of murder during the commission of a robbery, murder by means of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle and of multiple murders, said Ricardo Santiago, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. The two also face one count of attempted murder stemming from the first Woodland Hills shooting.
The complaint also includes allegations that Terán personally and intentionally fired a handgun, killing the two men, and that he was convicted in San Diego in 2012 on federal drug charges.
Santiago said the men are scheduled to be arraigned July 13 at the Van Nuys Courthouse and are both being held without bail.
Doerbecker said investigators don't believe there are any more suspects at large, but the case is still under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Doerbecker at the LAPD’s Valley Homicide Bureau at (818) 374-1941. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.