LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The man police say fatally shot four people, including his own father and brother, has been caught after a day-long search in the San Fernando Valley Thursday.
Six people in total were shot during the rampage that began in Canoga Park and stretched into North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks and Van Nuys before officers caught up with 26-year-old Gerry Dean Zaragoza.
Zaragoza was wanted in connection with the 2 a.m. fatal shootings of his 50-year-old father, Carlos, and his 20-year-old brother, Carlos, Jr., at an apartment in the 21000 block of Roscoe Boulevard. Zaragoza’s mother was also shot in the arm and transported to a hospital. She was expected to be OK at the time of this report.
Detectives suspect Zaragoza in the fatal shooting of his ex-girlfriend at a gas station on Vineland, right across from the Burbank Airport, in North Hollywood, that occurred approximately 45 minutes later. A male gas station employee was also shot and rushed to the hospital with critical injuries.
Police are investigating whether Zaragoza then tried to rob a man attempting to use an ATM at a Bank of America at Sherman Way and Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Canoga Park before 8 a.m. Nothing was taken and no injuries were reported.
At 12:53 p.m., a shooting was reported on a Metro Orange Line bus at Victory Boulevard and Woodley Avenue. Police say they believe Zaragoza was involved in the incident.
Aerial footage showed a body on the bus. LAPD investigators were scouring the surrounding area for a suspect via an air and ground search. A perimeter was established and the public was asked to avoid the area and stay indoors.
“Once we got to the Woodley Station, that’s when I heard the gunshot,” said witness Carlos Hurtado de Jesus. “And the bus driver opened the door. Once he opened the door, everybody started running.”
It was shortly before 3 p.m. when Zaragoza was apprehended at the intersection of Sherman Way and Canoga in Canoga Park. Zaragoza was taken to a hospital and complained of injuries. He was not shot.
Police say he was armed at the time of his arrest.
One man, Michael, said Zaragoza’s father worked for him for 12 years as a carpet cleaner and complained about his son’s violent behavior.
“He told me about the problems with his son — his drug problems. His son didn’t want to work, didn’t want to do anything,” he said. “I told him to take him to rehab. He told me he was violent in the house. I told Carlos, I said, ‘Carlos, get rid of him. Take him to rehab.’”
Neighbor Ruth Barcena says Zaragoza’s mother was always friendly.
“I’ve been knowing this lady for a long, long time, just passing by the street, saying hi,” she said. “[I’m] really hurt, about what happened.”