One of the suspects allegedly involved in a violent armed robbery is an aide to Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks. Three suspects have been arrested after a manhunt. Investigators say all three suspects may be linked to other robberies as well.
Surveillance video from inside a smoke shop on the 17000 block of Main Street in Hesperia shows two men come into the store wearing masks. As one of them walks to the back holding a handgun and shouting demands, the other one punches one of the store owners, then assaults someone else before fleeing.
"Thankfully a concerned citizen noticed the two disguised men run out of the business, and hearing the screams, he jumped into his vehicle to follow them in their vehicle," said San Bernardino County Sheriff's Spokesperson Sue Rose.
Because of that, police were able to catch up with the two male suspects: Sterling Ghoston and Jermaine Brown were both arrested.
Later that day, they served a search warrant at Brown's house and arrested his wife, Kearia Deluna Brown.
"Kearia Brown, also known as Kearia Deluna, lives at that location. Deputies recovered evidence linking her and the other two suspects to this robbery, and potentially to other crimes committed throughout the high desert," said Rose.
But while the sheriff's department says Ghoston and Brown have lengthy criminal records, Kearia Brown does not. She does, however, work full-time as an aide to L.A. City Councilman Bernard Parks.
Parks declined to go on camera, but his office did send Eyewitness News a statement: "We have been made aware of the situation and are currently evaluating the circumstances. It is our policy not to comment on personnel matters."
Parks' chief of staff said a background check on Brown came up clean. While she works in his office at L.A. City Hall most of the time, she's now been placed on home assignment.
Eyewitness News tried to speak with her at her Adelanto home Friday, but no one answered the door.
Even though the surveillance video never shows Kearia Brown going into the store, detectives say she was close by the whole time listening to a police scanner, reporting the exact location of police.
"We believe she was in communication with both suspects as they were fleeing on foot, and she was there to help them evade capture in another vehicle," said Rose.
Detectives also say they confiscated a list found inside Brown's home with the names of dozens of smoke shops across the high desert, and the response time it would take for police to get to each one if someone called 911.
"I have no idea how long this has been occurring. However I do know that we have had a number of armed robberies of smoke shops within the high desert area," said Rose.
Anyone with information related to crimes that might be linked to this alleged robbery crew is urged to contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department at (760) 947-1500.