6 Arrested in ‘Scenic Viewpoint’ Killings in Pasadena, Rancho Palos Verdes

6 Arrested in ‘Scenic Viewpoint’ Killings in Pasadena, Rancho Palos Verdes
A man in handcuffs in a file photo. (Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images)
City News Service

Pasadena police are continuing their investigation on July 27 following the arrests of five men and one woman that they believe are connected to a killing on July 22 and a double homicide on July 24 in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Investigators did not immediately identify the suspects, citing the ongoing investigation. Pasadena police Lt. Keith Gomez said during a July 26 news conference that the suspects are members of a Los Angeles criminal street gang that carries out robberies of people “parked in scenic turnouts,” noting that the victims were usually “distracted” when the attacks occurred.

According to Mr. Gomez, the arrests were primarily connected to three homicides: the Saturday killing of 32-year-old Jessie Munoz, who was fatally shot in a vehicle he was driving that crashed on Angeles Crest Highway near mile marker 28.36. Munoz died at the scene.

Pasadena police detectives determined that the Munoz shooting resulted from an apparent robbery attempt.

Mr. Gomez told reporters that the killing is also believed to be linked to the fatal shootings of a man and a woman who were found dead in Rancho Palos Verdes early Monday.

Deputies sent to the 7000 block of Palos Verdes Drive in Rancho Palos Verdes at 6:50 a.m. Monday found Jorge Ramos, 36, and TaylorRaven Whittaker, 26, fatally shot inside a parked Subaru sedan, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Multiple bullet holes were visible on the car.

Detectives from the Pasadena Police Department’s Robbery/Homicide Unit coordinated the arrests that involved multiple specialized law enforcement units in an operation that spanned several hours and occurred at several locations throughout Los Angeles County, police said.

At 10:15 p.m. on July 25, detectives saw a vehicle involved in the Munoz murder in the 7600 block of Woodman Street in Panorama City, initiated a stop, and took five men into custody.

Multiple semi-automatic firearms were recovered from the interior portion of the vehicle.

A female suspect was simultaneously taken into custody in the 900 block of West 85th Street in Los Angeles and a search warrant was executed at multiple locations.

Mr. Gomez declined to give specifics about the alleged link between the two cases, saying the sheriff’s department investigation was still ongoing. He said repeatedly, however, that investigators believe the shootings are connected.

Anyone with information about this case was asked to call the Pasadena Police Department at  626-744-4241. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 and tips can be sent to its website.