Fernando Mendez Jr., 28
Fernando Mendez Jr., a 28-year-old Latino, was shot and killed Tuesday, July 18, in the 2800 block of Walnut Avenue in Signal Hill, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.
Mendez was in the parking lot of the Fantasy Castle strip club at Walnut Avenue and East 28th Street about 1:50 a.m. when a “male figure” walked up to him and began shooting, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bill Cotter said.
“We say he’s a ‘male figure’ because he appeared to be male, but he was wearing all dark clothing with a hooded sweatshirt pulled over his face, so you couldn’t see any of his features, race or anything,” Cotter said.
Mendez, who lived in Long Beach, was pronounced dead at the scene at 2 a.m., with gunshot wounds to the torso, according to coroner’s records.
Two women standing near Mendez also were struck by gunfire, Cotter said. They were taken to a hospital in stable condition. One woman, 27, had a gunshot wound to her hip, and the other woman, 22, was injured in the toe, he said. Both are expected to survive their wounds.
Cotter said he didn’t know what, if any, connection the women had to Mendez. “We know they were patrons of the club, but we don’t know if they were his friends,” he said. “It does appear as though he was the target.”
After the shooting, the gunman “disappeared back onto Walnut,” Cotter said. “He appears to have been on foot.”
The Times reported that this is the second shooting at the club in the past year. In October, two people were shot and injured, and a third was run over by a motorist fleeing the area after the shooting. All three suffered injuries deemed not life-threatening.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.