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Woman arrested in off-ramp murder

April 12, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police announced the arrest of a 30-year-old woman Friday night in connection with the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old driver near a freeway off-ramp in South Los Angeles, but were still looking for other suspects. Jessica Ortega, a resident of the Ramona Gardens public housing complex in Boyle Heights, was arrested for suspicion of murder, Officer Jason Lee of the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations Section said, adding that it was unclear when the arrest was made.

"Detectives are continuing their investigation into looking for other outstanding suspects," Lee said.

Samantha Padilla of Los Angeles was fatally shot about 12:15 a.m. Thursday near the Slauson Avenue off-ramp of the northbound Harbor (110) Freeway, said Officer Kate Lopez of the LAPD's Media Relations unit.

Padilla was stopped at a traffic light near the off-ramp when someone in a 1990-91 model light-brown-over-dark-brown Ford Bronco pulled up alongside and fired several shots into her car, striking her several times. Padilla died at a hospital about a half-hour later, police said.

Padilla, a baggage handler at Los Angeles International Airport, was on the way home from work when the shooting occurred, according to broadcast reports.

Family and friends held a candlelight vigil at the scene of the shooting Thursday night for a woman they described as hardworking and with no known enemies.

"What type of monsters are out there doing this?" Padilla's sister, Erica Padilla, told a reporter. "I'm angry, and I'm not going to rest until there's justice for my sister. I don't care whatever I have to do. I will do to bring closure to me, to myself and to my family."

Lopez told the Los Angeles Times that there was no evidence that the freeway shooting was part of a trend, adding that the LAPD has investigated only three such incidents in the last few months.

"If anybody knows what happened, come out and speak up," Erica Padilla told a reporter. "She didn't deserve this."

Anyone knowing more about the crime was urged to call LAPD detectives at (323) 846-5363, or the 24-hour hotline (877) LAWFULL.

 

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