HARBOR CITY (CBSLA.com) — An 18-year-old reputed gang member who allegedly opened fire inside a burger restaurant in a Harbor City strip mall – killing the eatery’s longtime owner and another man – is facing capital murder charges.
Joey Alfred Mendoza is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 16 at the Long Beach courthouse on two counts of murder stemming from the attack at Bob’s Hamburgers last Wednesday morning that killed Charalambos Antonelos, 61, of San Pedro, and Louis Garcia, 23, of Wilmington.
Detectives say Garcia was the target, and Antonelos — who ran Bob’s Hamburgers for three decades — was struck by stray gunfire.
The murder charges, filed Monday, include the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder carried out to further the activities of the defendant’s “criminal street gang,” along with an
allegation that he personally and intentionally discharged a handgun.
Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Mendoza, who was arrested a day after the shooting.
Mendoza allegedly pulled out a handgun and fired several shots after approaching Garcia as he stood next to the restaurant’s counter about 9:30 a.m. Mendoza collapsed and died at the scene.
Antonelos, who had been working behind the counter, died at a hospital.
Witnesses and police said the gunman’s face was covered during the attack.
“Harbor detectives identified the suspect through surveillance video, witness statements and gang intelligence,” according to a statement released by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Mendoza has remained behind bars since he was arrested about 1:45 a.m. last Thursday.
Distraught customers told reporters that Antonelos was known for giving out free food to those in need.
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