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2nd accomplice arrested in baby's murder

July 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The second suspect in the fatal shooting of a 4-month-old boy in Van Nuys has been arrested nine months after the murder. A suspected gang member has been captured in Mexico, and he's now in a Los Angeles jail, accused of the murder.The death of baby Andrew Garcia is remembered on Kittridge Street like it happened yesterday.

Two suspected gang members running on foot blasted away in the dark where family and friends had gathered. Baby Andrew, just 4 months old, was murdered within hours of his baptism celebration.

The outcry last September rallied a $50,000 reward.

Alfonso Landa, 17, was captured within days. But it took an international manhunt to track down his alleged accomplice. Ricardo Hernandez, 23, was arrested in Jalisco, Mexico, after an anonymous tipster called LAPD.

"Let's hope it does send a message because innocent people get do caught and they are the ones who suffer and their families and they live with it forever," said Brenda Roberts, a neighbor.

Hernandez was classified as an undesirable U.S. citizen in Mexico, and deported.

As he awaits his arraignment, neighbors aren't sure whether they are safer or not.

"We are not secure," said one 20-year resident, who sees drug traded at a nearby tree.

Yet another says this block is better than most occupied by gang members nearby.

"This is a relatively quiet area, for Van Nuys," said local neighbor Johanna Hodges. "There's not a lot of shootings, not a lot of crimes."

The family of baby Andrew moved away. A gang injunction remains enforced. The arrest brings a measure of relief.

"It is good," said local neighbor Sonia Serna. "It's not going to bring the little baby back but he won't do it to some other family."

LAPD detectives say they have many types of evidence, including circumstantial and physical, that link Hernandez to the crime. His arraignment is expected later this week.


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