LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Authorities arrested three people Friday in connection with the murder of off-duty Los Angeles police officer Juan Diaz last week during a series of early morning raids in Los Angeles and Riverside counties.
All three suspects were back in the Los Angeles area Friday evening, and all three have been charged with murder with a gang affiliation.
The suspects have been identified as Francisco Talamantes, 23, of Temecula; Christian Facundo, 20, of Temecula’ and Ashlynn Smith, 18, also of Temecula.
All three are being held without bail.
During a ceremony Friday, Mayor Eric Garcetti said arrests were made in Murrieta and Temecula. LAPD also confirmed to CBS2 that at least one person was arrested in a raid at a home in the Glassell Park neighborhood.
LAPD Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala told reporters the suspects are in their 20s, but did not release their names.
“These are the folks that we believe are responsible for that senseless murder of Juan Diaz,” Girmala said.
Cell phone video showed dozens of LAPD SWAT officers descending on two homes in the 36000 block of Castle Lane in Murrieta, where they found one of the suspects.
“They asked him to come out, and he was with his hands up, and they was pointing at him because I saw the green lights on his body,” neighbor Martha Lopez told reporters.
Officers spent all morning carting out evidence from the homes.
At around 3 a.m., LAPD SWAT raided a home in the 3000 block of Carlyle Street in Glassell Park, just across from Glassell Park Elementary School. Police confirmed at least one person was arrested there. Residents were forced outside, where they had to sit in chairs across the street from the school while officers searched the home. A neighbor told CBS2 that police had previously been called to the home several times.
In the early morning hours of June 27, the 24-year-old Diaz was shot and killed at a Lincoln Heights taco stand while with his girlfriend and her two brothers. He had reportedly noticed a group of young men tagging and confronted them. Investigators believe one of the men made comments about gang ties and then shot at Diaz’s group, killing him and wounding the brother of Diaz’s girlfriend.