LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Sylmar man was charged Tuesday in connection with a series of random shootings that began Thursday, including the murder of a Pacoima man, officials from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

Alexander Hernandez, 34, was charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a man in Pacoima, the attempted murder of a couple in West Hollywood and the fatal shooting of two dogs. Prosecutors say they plan to ask Hernandez be held without bail.

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KCAL9’s Elsa Ramon reported from the area in West Hollywood where a couple narrowly escaped death last week after Hernandez fired a shot gun at the intersection of Gardner Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard.

Hernandez has also been linked to three Sunday morning shootings, each within an hour of one another, that killed three people – Gloria Tovar, 59; Mariana Franco, 22, who used a wheelchair; and a man in his 20s or 30s who was not identified. Hernandez, who was taken into custody Sunday night after a standoff with SWAT at a Sylmar home, has been named a person of interest in those murders.

“Nothing makes a homicide investigator’s heart beat faster than realizing he has a serial killer,” said LA County Sheriff’s Chief William McSweeney.

Coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter said a “security hold” remained in effect on the case, precluding his office from releasing the names of the dead.

Hernandez faces one count of capital murder in the fatal shooting of Gildardo Morales, 48, on Aug. 21. District attorney’s officials said Morales was driving his pickup to work when he was shot and killed.

Prosecutors say, on Friday, Hernandez fired at a husband and wife in their vehicle in West Hollywood. They were not injured.

The following day, officials say, Hernandez drove by a house in Pacoima and shot three dogs, killing two and injuring the third, before driving away.

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Hernandez has been charged with one count of murder with the special circumstance of shooting at an occupied vehicle, two counts of attempted murder, one count of shooting at an occupied vehicle and three counts of animal cruelty. He is also charged with two counts of discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, one count of possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of ammunition.

“I think the public hopefully gained some confidence in the quality of our work,” McSweeney said. “Let us hope that they stop fearing this particular individual ’cause we’re confident the string is over.”

According to the criminal complaint, Hernandez has four prior convictions, including for possession for sale of methamphetamine, possession of controlled substance with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon. The special circumstance of a drive-by shooting makes Hernandez eligible for the death penalty, but prosecutors say they will decide later whether to pursue that sentence.

Deputies said no other suspects are involved in this case.


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