The Homicide Report

The Times chronicles L.A. County
homicide victims

Category: Long Beach

Dispatch: 'He just never made it back home'

December 30, 2009 | 12:40 pm

Jesus A small collection of candles sits near a street lamp outside Lincoln Elementary School in Long Beach, the only indication that Jesus Nava, a 23-year old Latino, was shot to death here at 11 p.m. on Dec. 12.

The intersection where he was killed -- 11th Street and Orange Avenue in East Long Beach -- was just seven blocks away from where he lived. Nava was pronounced dead at St. Mary's Medical Center, about 500 feet from the Metro station he had exited moments before his slaying.

“He just never made it back home,” his sister, Rosa Nava, said of that night. She learned of her brother's death when Long Beach police detectives visited her home about 3 a.m. as she and her husband were preparing to go to work on their delivery route for the Los Angeles Times.

Her brother had been walking home from the Anaheim Metro station on 11th Street after visiting his parents in North Long Beach -- something he did each weekend.

“All the brothers would be there all the time on the weekends,” his sister said. 

A recently out-of-work roofer, he had been living with his sister and her family since September. The day before he was killed, he received his unemployment check and gave his sister $150 to help pay for food for her family of six, including his four nieces and nephews. Navamap

“He knew we were currently struggling to buy groceries,” she said.

The other part of his unemployment check was going to be devoted to buying diapers for his 2-year-old son, Joseph, who lived with his mother in North Long Beach, where Nava was from, near where the 710 and 91 freeways meet.

People in their North Long Beach neighborhood have known Nava “since he was in diapers,” his sister said.

Most Christmases at their parents' home are busy, she said. Nava had four brothers and two sisters who all bring their families to celebrate, filling the home with more than 20 people. This Christmas, Rosa Nava said her brother planned to buy games for his son and his ex-girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter, Lucy.

Instead, all Christmas plans for the family were canceled.

Two days before Christmas, services were held for Nava at All Souls Mortuary in Long Beach. His ashes were be entombed Tuesday.

"There's still that one [present] that's still there," Rosa Nava said of a gift for her brother left unopened.

Nava was the only member of his family to die in recent history, his sister said. Some of their great- grandparents are still living and were not even told of his death because family members believed it would be too hard for them to learn that they outlived their 23-year-old great-grandson.

The possibility of Nava's death being gang-related is being considered, although Det. Patrick O' Dowd said authorities do not believe Nava had any gang involvement.

"We're still investigating different theories," O'Dowd said. "It's even harder when the victim has small children. Especially around the holidays."

Anyone with information about this shooting is asked to contact O'Dowd or Det. Terri Hubert at (562) 570-7244.

-- Lauren Williams in Long Beach

Follow The Homicide Report on Twitter @latimeshomicide.

Photo: Jesus Nava, 23, was shot and killed Dec. 12 in Long Beach. Credit: Nava family. Map: Location of Nava's shooting. Credit: Google maps.


Long Beach: Loc Phan, 74

December 17, 2009 |  9:24 am

The location where Loc Phan was shot. Credit: Google Maps Loc Phan, a 74-year-old Asian man, was beaten and died Monday, Dec. 7, in the 700 block of Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach, authorities said.

Long Beach police responded to a call about trouble at a business about 3:15 p.m. When they arrived at "Reliable Gold Exchange" they discovered Phan, who owned the cash-for-gold store, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

He had been severely beaten and had lacerations on his head and face, according to coroner's records and was pronounced dead at the scene at about 3:40 p.m.

Detectives are still investigating the motive, and have no suspect information to release.

Anyone who has information about this killing is asked to contact Long Beach Police Dets. Scott Lasch or Malcolm Evans at (562) 570-7244. 

-- Anthony Pesce

Follow The Homicide Report on Twitter @latimeshomicide.

Map: The location where Loc Phan was shot. Credit: Google Maps


Long Beach: Jesus Nava, 23

December 17, 2009 |  8:28 am

The location where Jesus Nava was shot. Credit: Google Maps Jesus Nava, a 23-year-old Latino, was shot and killed Saturday, Dec. 12, at Orange Avenue and 11th Street in Long Beach, authorities said.

Long Beach Police responded to a shots-fired call about 11 p.m. and found Nava with a gunshot wound in the upper body, according to a police news release. Nava was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11:31 p.m.

Police are calling the killing possibly gang-related.

Anyone with information about this killing is asked to call Long Beach Police Dets. Patrick O'Dowd or Terri Hubert at (562) 570-7244.

-- Anthony Pesce

Follow The Homicide Report on Twitter @latimeshomicide.

Map: The location where Jesus Nava was shot. Credit: Google Maps


Long Beach: Comontray Lenoir, 24

November 30, 2009 |  5:27 pm

The location where Comontray Lenoir was shot. Credit: Google MapsComontray Lenoir, a 24-year-old black man, was shot and killed Tuesday, Nov. 17, in the 2700 block of East 57th Street in Long Beach, authorities said.

Lenoir was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds in the courtyard of an apartment complex after police received reports of a shooting at 5:30 p.m., police said. Police are investigating the slaying as a gang-related crime, the Long Beach Police Department said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Dets. William Matsubara and Todd Johnson at (562) 570-7244.

-- Robert J. Lopez

Follow The Homicide Report on Twitter @latimeshomicide.

Map: The location where Comontray Lenoir was shot. Credit: Google Maps


Long Beach: Frank Castro Jr., 19

November 30, 2009 |  5:11 pm

The location where Frank Castro Jr. was shot. Credit: Google Maps Frank Castro Jr., a 19-year-old Latino, was shot and killed Thursday, Nov. 19, in the 3600 block of Santa Fe Avenue in Long Beach, according to police spokeswoman Jackie Bezart.

According to authorities, Castro and two other men were approached by a gunman on foot outside a liquor store about 11:30 p.m. All three men were hit -- Castro was shot several times and pronounced dead at the scene. The other two men, 18 and 40 years old, were treated at a hospital and released.

Police believe the shooting was gang-related.

-- Seema Mehta

Follow The Homicide Report on Twitter @latimeshomicide.

Map: The location where Frank Castro Jr. was shot. Credit: Google Maps


Times coverage: Funeral held for Melody Ross, 16

November 15, 2009 |  9:42 am

Chantha Ross, right, puts a rose on the casket of her daughter, Melody.

The Times' Ruben Vives reports from Saturday's funeral for Melody Ross, a 16-year-old Cambodian American teen who was shot and killed Friday, Oct. 30, in the 4400 block of East 10th Street in Long Beach while leaving her high school's homecoming football game. Tom Love Vinson and Daivion Davis, both 16-year-old black males, have been charged as adults in her slaying, which authorities say was gang-related. From the report:

Melody Ross, the Wilson High School honors student whose shooting death after a Long Beach football game touched off an outpouring of sympathy from around the country, was buried Saturday in Whittier.

A hushed throng of family members, friends and dignitaries gathered at SkyRose Chapel at Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary, where her first name was spelled out in a collage of photographs taken over the 16 years of her life.

A slide show was screened above her open wooden casket, set amid wreaths of flowers. Nearby, a Wilson football helmet, a Gatorade bottle and a football sat on marble stands, each bearing signatures of those who knew her.

Looking over the crowd, Melody's uncle, Sam Che, 36, said he was touched by the expressions of love for his niece. He pointed to a photograph of Melody and gently said, "Look at her smile."

Read the complete story: Funeral held for Melody Ross, teenager shot after high school football game

Photo: Chantha Ross, right, puts a rose on the casket of her daughter, Melody. As the three-hour funeral service ended, other mourners also placed roses there. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times


Two teenagers charged as adults in slaying of Melody Ross, 16

November 7, 2009 | 10:12 am

Tom Love Vinson and Daivion Davis

Tom Love Vinson and Daivion Davis, both 16-year-old black males, were charged Friday as adults in the killing of Melody Ross, a 16-year-old Cambodian American teen. 

Location of shooting after Wilson High's homecoming game Ross, an honors student at Wilson High in Long Beach, was leaving her school's homecoming game on the night of Friday, Oct. 30, when she was struck by gunfire. Two men -- an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old -- were wounded in the shooting.

Vinson and Davis have been identified by Los Angeles County prosecutors as gang members.

Read more: L.A. Now: DA: 'Seriousness of crime' justified charging teens as adults in killing of Long Beach honors student

View the Long Beach Press-Telegram's coverage of the DA's news conference.

-- Megan Garvey

Follow The Homicide Report on Twitter @latimeshomicide.

Photo: Tom Love Vinson and Daivion Davis. Credit: KTLA, courtesy of Press-Telegram


Times coverage: Student at Long Beach's Wilson High fatally shot after homecoming game

November 3, 2009 | 11:23 am

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Melody Ross, a 16-year-old Cambodian teen, was shot and killed Friday, Oct. 30, in the 4400 block of East 10th Street in Long Beach as she left Wilson High School's homecoming football game, authorities said.

The following is an excerpt of the Times story covering the shooting: Student at Long Beach's Wilson High fatally shot after homecoming game

The "Supergirl" Halloween costume that 16-year-old Melody Ross wore to the Wilson High School football game was befitting of her promising resume: honors student, pole vaulter and athlete, positive attitude, aspirations to attend UCLA.

Those were the attributes that Ross' friends and family recalled Saturday as they gathered near the stadium gates at the Long Beach campus. They placed flowers and votive candles at the spot where she was fatally shot Friday night as she and her friends were leaving the Wilson homecoming game against Polytechnic High School.

The daughter of Cambodian immigrants, Ross died at St. Mary's Hospital at 10:30 p.m., half an hour after she was shot, said her uncle, Sam Che.

Two men, ages 18 and 20, were wounded in the gunfire and hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, police said. They are not believed to be students at either school, and their identities were not released.

No arrests have been made, police said.

Photo: Friends and classmates gather at a makeshift memorial near the football stadium where Melody Ross was shot. Police say no arrests have been made. "I'm sick to my stomach when something like that happens," the football coach said. Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

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Long Beach: Esaul Villagrana, 23

November 3, 2009 | 10:46 am

The location where Esaul Villagrana was shot. Credit: Google Maps Esaul Villagrana, a 23-year-old white man, was shot and killed Monday, Oct. 26, in front of 20th Street and Cedar Avenue in Long Beach, authorities said.

According to a Long Beach police news release, Villagrana was driving down the street about 7:20 p.m. when he stopped his car and got out. Someone standing nearby shot him.

Villagrana was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:10 p.m. Detectives said the killing could be gang-related.

Anyone with information about this killing is asked to call Long Beach Police Dets. Mark McGuire or Hugo Cortes at (562) 570-7244.

-- Anthony Pesce

Follow The Homicide Report on Twitter @latimeshomicide.

Map: The location where Esaul Villagrana was shot. Credit: Google Maps


Long Beach: Pablo Marquez, 18

October 27, 2009 |  6:20 pm

The location where Pablo Marquez was shot. Credit: Google Maps Pablo Marquez, an 18-year-old Latino man, was shot and killed on Wednesday, Oct. 21, in the 1800 block of Henderson Avenue in Long Beach, authorities said.

Officers responded to a call that someone had been hit by gunfire at 11:12 p.m. and found Marquez on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound, according to a Long Beach Police Department news release.

Marquez, a Long Beach resident, was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:17 p.m., according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

Anyone with information about the killing is asked to call Dets. Mark McGuire or Hugo Cortes at (562) 570-7244.

—Anthony Pesce

Follow the Homicide Report on Twitter@latimeshomicide.

Map: The location where Pablo Marquez was shot.

Credit: Google Maps


Long Beach: Robert Tripple, 20

September 25, 2009 |  9:55 am

The location where Robert Tripple was shot.

Robert Tripple, a 20-year-old black man, died on Monday, Sept. 14, after he was shot in the 200 block of West 20th Street in Long Beach, authorities said.

Long Beach police responded to a shots fired call at about 10:45 p.m. and found Tripple and two other men suffering from gunshot wounds, according to a statement released by the Long Beach Police Department.

Tripple and his companions -- unidentified 19- and 20-year-old men from Long Beach -- had "a verbal exchange" with two other men in front of a residence, according to the statement.

The shooters opened fire on Tripple and the other two men. The two unidentified men were treated for nonlife-threatening injuries. Tripple was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to Long Beach Police.

The shooting is being investigated as gang-related, according to Long Beach Police. No suspect descriptions were available.

Anyone with information is asked to call Long Beach Police Department Dets. William Matsubara or Todd Johnson at (562) 570-5273.

-- Anthony Pesce

Follow The Homicide Report on Twitter @latimeshomicide.

Map: The location where Robert Tripple was shot. Credit: Google Maps


Long Beach: Jacob Benavidez, 15

August 26, 2009 | 10:16 pm
The location of Jacob Benavidez's shooting.Jacob Benavidez, a 15-year-old Latino, was shot several times in the 1000 block of East 16th Street in Long Beach and died on Tuesday, Aug. 18, according to Los Angeles County coroner's officials.

Benavidez, of Long Beach, was standing on the sidewalk at 12:34 a.m., when someone walked up and shot him, said Ed Winter, a spokesman for the coroner's office. Benavidez was taken to a hospital, where he died at 1:08 a.m.

-- Anthony Pesce

Long Beach: Leonardo Benitez, 18

August 6, 2009 |  9:24 pm
Leonardo Benitez, an 18-year-old Latino, was shot in the head and died on Sunday, Aug. 2, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

Benitez was shot in the 1100 block of Hoffman Avenue in Long Beach, and died at noon in the hospital, said Craig Harvey, chief coroner investigator.


Long Beach: Jose Cruz, 31

July 13, 2009 |  4:07 pm

Jose Cruz, a 31-year-old Latino, was stabbed in the chest and died on July 7 in the 1700 block of East 7th Street in Long Beach, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

Long Beach police officers received a call about a family dispute at about 1 p.m. They found Cruz with a stab wound. He was taken to the hospital, where he died, according to the Long Beach Police Department.

A 53-year-old man was arrested in connection with the killing, but police did not release his identity.

Anyone with information is asked to call Long Beach Police Department Dets. Russell Moss or Terri Hubert at 562-570-7244.

-- Anthony Pesce



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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.


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