San Bernardino police say a press conference the department held last month seeking the public’s help to identify the people behind four possibly related shootings that have left five dead and three wounded since last summer is yielding results.
At the time of the press conference, the only thing known about the cases was that some or all of them seemed to be connected to a tan sedan that stalked victims in or near their vehicles at night.
Now, San Bernardino Police Department Sergeant John Echevarria tells Los Angeles that investigators are following a slew of new leads provided by citizens who want the killers caught.
“We wanted to get information out and see if anybody knew anything about a specific vehicle or a person of interest,” he says. “We were very happy that it was a success because we did gain information and people did call in. They wanted to remain anonymous and they wanted to give us some leads for the investigators. So detectives are exhausting all of those to the best of their abilities. The detectives were thankful that we’ve made some progress.”
Although no arrests have been made so far, the tips have cops taking a closer look at the prospect that the killings are gang related.
“But,” Echevarria cautions, “we cannot prove that. It’s just more of a thought at this point because of some of the neighborhoods and some of the methods that the incidents were conducted, but there’s nothing saying it was Gang A or Gang B or Gang C versus Gang D. It’s a thought at this point.”
The method of murder was likely “the traditional drive-by situation,” Echevarria says. Yet he adds, “Regarding these homicides I am not sure, I cannot recall, and I cannot comment on if they were a drive-by, but I think some of the areas where it happened, or maybe the victim had a gang history, and that’s how [detectives] came up with that thought.”
All of the shootings occurred in the city’s western district, where Echevarria says there are “older gangs.” He adds: “I myself do not know the gang names but I know that there is a history of there being gang activity in these areas.”
“Multiple weapons” were used in the attacks, and that evidence is being analyzed by the Sheriff’s Department.
Meanwhile, Echevarria confirms that the February 22 shooting death of one man and wounding of another at 2350 N. Osbun Road in San Bernardino was not related to the serial shootings.
Calling the incident “a whole separate situation,” Echevarria said, “They possibly knew each other, they possibly had some history, but it doesn’t appear that it was outside neighborhood or outside people that were targeting them.”
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