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On Monday, Jan. 25, 2010, The Times launched a new version of the Homicide Report. You have arrived at the old blog.

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-- Megan Garvey and Anthony Pesce



El Monte: Man, 39, shot by police after taking son hostage

February 12, 2009 |  3:45 pm

Manuel Benitez, a 39-year-old Latino man, was shot by police officers while holding his son hostage in the bathroom of a Chinese restaurant in the 3500 block of Santa Anita Avenue in El Monte on the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008.

Benitez, who as a child actor was also known as Mark Everett, was wanted in connection with the June 2004 slaying of his girlfriend, Stephanie Spears.

Both Benitez and his mother, Elizabeth Velasco, went missing after Spears' death. Benitez had taken his then 3-year-old son with him and had not been seen in several years.

Benitez was spotted with his son and reported as a suspicious person. When police officers approached him about 2:30 p.m., he held a gun to his son's head and locked himself in the bathroom of a Chinese restaurant, holding his son as a hostage.

After about two hours of hostage negotiations with Benitez, he opened the door and officers threw in a flash bang grenade and shot him – killing him.

His son, 8, was wounded in the leg. Police said they recovered two guns from Benitez.

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz and Ruben Vives

Slain El Monte Gunman identified as hostage's father


The comments to this entry are closed.

Comments (4)

so cops negotiated with him for two hours and he decides to open the door...then they shoot him? Was he surrendering or what? sounds like this should be looked into

So the dad finally opened the door after 2 hrs. and he gets shot. I mean i guess he deserved to get shot for what he did but what if they had shot the kid.

The police were right in this shooting. The guy was already wanted for murder, how long do they have to talk to him. He had nothing to lose by shooting his son and himself. Thank god they got the little boy away from him.

What a sad story for all involved. I would bet my paycheck that he killed his mom also. This guy sounds like his was a wacko. I just hope that his child doesn't continue the circle.



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About the Reporters
The Homicide Report is compiled using information from the Los Angeles County coroner's office, local law enforcement agencies and the Los Angeles Times. It is written by Times staff writers.


Recent News
Please visit the Homicide Report at its new location |  January 25, 2010, 10:32 pm »
Database and interactive map coming soon |  January 12, 2010, 4:19 pm »
L.A. County homicides: Jan. 4-11 |  January 11, 2010, 1:18 pm »
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