Suspects Charged in Murderous Shooting Spree That Left 4 Dead, 2 Injured in Los Angeles

District Attorney George Gascón announced sentencing enhancements for the suspects in the violent crime.
Suspects Charged in Murderous Shooting Spree That Left 4 Dead, 2 Injured in Los Angeles
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón speaks at a press conference in Los Angeles on Dec. 8, 2021. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)
Beige Luciano-Adams
Two suspects arrested for a shooting spree that left four people dead in southeast Los Angeles County will face enhanced counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office announced Feb. 15.

The district attorney requested the two adult suspects be held without bail. If convicted, both face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A third suspect, a juvenile male, has also been arrested in the shootings, said the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on Friday. His name and age were not released.

The victims—including a 14-year-old boy and a homeless man—appear to have been targeted randomly in killings that took place in Bell, Cudahy, Huntington Park, and unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County over the course of 24 hours.

“In the face of this devastating crime spree that claimed the lives of four innocent people, including a child, my heart aches for the victims and their grieving families,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who represents the 4th District, offered condolences and praised law enforcement, including in neighboring San Bernardino County, for coordinating efforts to apprehend the suspected gang members.

“This is a painful four days for the Southeast Los Angeles Community,” Ms. Hahn said.

Authorities allege Gary Jonathan Garcia, Jr., 42, and Timberland Wayne McKneely, 20, late Feb. 11 night shot a 29-year-old man to death near a kindergarten in Bell. A 24-year-old man was also shot but uninjured.

Then, in the early hours of Feb. 12, authorities say they fatally shot a 27-year-old man in unincorporated Florence-Firestone, and shortly after, shot and killed a 14-year-old in front of a primary school in Cudahy, where a 13-year-old boy was also shot and injured but survived. Hours later, they allegedly shot and killed a homeless man, between 35 and 45 years old, in Huntington Park.

Authorities allege the crimes are gang-related drive-by shootings, and the charges include the “special circumstances” of “multiple murders” and “shooting from a motor vehicle.” They say the suspects appear to have randomly targeted unknown victims on the streets of several cities.

With a heated election for district attorney looming, Mr. Gascón affected a hardline stance on violent crime at the press conference. He is facing a crowded race, including against candidates from within his own office, and dismal approval ratings.

Nathan Hochman, a leading candidate challenging Mr. Gascón in the March 5 primary and a vocal critic of the DA’s tenure, said he was saddened to learn of the deaths and the tremendous grief it has created for victims’ families.

“[T]here’s a correlation between the increase in crime and Gascón pro-criminal policies,” Mr. Hochman said in an email to The Epoch Times. “When you fail to seek the maximum punishment for certain violent and serious crimes, when you refuse to file charges that the evidence warrants, it empowers criminals who literally feel as though nothing will happen to them.”

The latest incident is “further evidence” the public has a right to feel less safe than they did before Mr. Gascón was elected, he said.

While police data indicate violent crime has dropped in the City of Los Angeles, the past week was a particularly grim one for the Southland.

A body was found floating in the Los Angeles River; multiple hit-and-runs across the Southland have claimed innocent lives; a homeless man was stabbed to death in the San Fernando Valley; a police standoff with a barricaded suspect in Glendale ended with one dead; and multiple other shootings claimed lives, including a 17-year-old.

Authorities told reporters Thursday the gang drive-by suspects had “very minimal records.”

Mr. Garcia and Mr. McKneely are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday. Police said they believe a third suspect is involved, and an investigation, led by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, is ongoing.

City News Service contributed to this report.
Beige Luciano-Adams is an investigative reporter covering Los Angeles and statewide issues in California. She has covered politics, arts, culture, and social issues for a variety of outlets, including LA Weekly and MediaNews Group publications. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on X:
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