UPDATED: Miguel Alvarenga, 18
Miguel Alvarenga, an 18-year-old Latino, died of blunt force trauma Friday, March 5, the day after he was hit by a car while fleeing an attempted robbery in the 7200 block of North Lurline Avenue in Winnetka, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.
[Updated March 18: The Times initially reported Alvarenga was approached by a male on a bicycle who attempted to rob him at knifepoint, based on information provided by the Los Angeles Police Department. A police news release following Alvarenga’s death said he had been struck by a passing car and fatally wounded after he tried to run away from the assailant.
New developments in the case, however, have significantly changed the police account of the incident. Authorities now believe Alvarenga was the one who intended to commit a robbery. Det. Dave Peteque of the LAPD's Topanga Division said that Alvarenga and a friend, an 18-year-old Latino, were driving around Winnetka in a car with the intent to commit robbery on Thursday, March 4. About 8 p.m., Alvarenga and his companion observed a Latino on a bicycle and parked their car on a side street. Alvarenga approached the individual, pulled him off the bicycle and tried to rob him, Peteque said. The victim produced a knife and Alvarenga ran away. Alvarenga was hit by a car and died, Peteque said.
The 18-year-old Latino who was with Alvarenga told investigators he wanted no part in the robbery. While Alvarenga accosted the man on the bicycle, the friend watched and then hid until the police arrived at the scene, according to police. He was taken in for questioning but has not been arrested.
Peteque said he has presented the findings to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office and is waiting to see whether prosecutors decide to charge the man with robbery or murder.
Investigators are still looking for the man on the bicycle, although Peteque believes he will not come forward.]
Anyone with information about the identity of the victim or details about incident is asked to call the Topanga Area homicide detectives at (818) 756-3363.