A hardworking father of two is how neighbors describe 20-year-old Jose Deras. A neighbor saw Deras playing with his 10-month-old daughter Saturday who he allegedly killed hours later.
"I had seen her in the morning, and I just passed by and said hi to him and the baby," said Jaime Munroe
Neighbors did not hear a fight Saturday afternoon, but children playing outdoors in the neighborhood saw the baby's mother run by upset.
"They did see that she was like crying because, my son even said, 'She looks scared,'" said neighbor Sandra Romo.
"And shortly after we saw a guy chase her and ask us where she went, and we told him 'That way.' We didn't know that he did anything," said neighbor Tyler Avery.
She ran for a block with a bundle in her arms to an auto body shop at the corner of McCallum and Atlantic avenues.
"She came in here, she was crying, she asked for help," said a shop manager.
The manager, who does not want to appear on camera, says he hustled her to the restroom to hide from Deras, who was out on the street looking for her.
She told the manager that Deras was violent and had once raped her.
She said Deras was angry about a car getting impounded. He lashed out, she said, with a fatal blow.
For the last two days, South Gate Police and L.A. County Sheriff's deputies searched for Deras. The Salvadoran immigrant is 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds. He has no known criminal record and was not thought to be armed.
He fled in what neighbors described as his newly acquired prized possession: A 2008 black Nissan Sentra with California license plate 6FYB170. The vehicle was later found in Southern California.
"My advice to him is if he hears this to step up and be a man and you need to fix this problem because it's going to haunt you for the rest of your life," said Munroe.
The mother was hurt and briefly hospitalized. She was released and remained in seclusion with family members Monday.
If you have information related to the case you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477).