2 arrested in string of robberies; police look for link to MTV employee's slaying
LAPD officers arrested two suspects in a series of shotgun robberies over the last two weeks in the Mid-City, Wilshire and Southwest L.A. areas. But officials have not yet made a link between the suspects and the execution-style slaying of an MTV music coordinator Sunday morning in a Mid-Wilshire neighborhood.
The LAPD on Wednesday pulled over a suspect driving a car matching a description of the suspects in at least nine robberies over the last two weeks. Officers arrested the two suspects, who were not named, and are continuing to investigate.
No weapons have been recovered.
LAPD sources said detectives were investigating whether there was a link between the robberies and the killing of Gabriel Aron Ben-Meir, who was fatally wounded in the back of the head with a shotgun.
Because the attack occurred about 1 a.m., no witnesses have been found, according to the sources. Police are considering a variety of possible scenarios, including a street robbery or an attack by someone he knew.
The killing of Ben-Meir stunned family members, co-workers at the music network and residents in a neighborhood lined with palm trees and manicured lawns not far from the Miracle Mile.
"We are all in terrible shock and would appreciate anyone with any information regarding his final hours to come forward," Ben-Meir's sister Alexis said Monday evening in an email.
Ben-Meir had parked his BMW on the street and was just a few steps from his front door when he was shot on Packard Street between Stanley and Spaulding avenues, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Investigators did not say if he had been robbed.
A neighbor walking his dog about 6:30 a.m. Sunday came across Ben-Meir's body and alerted police. The victim was face down in a pool of blood, law enforcement sources said, and had been shot at least once in the back of the head.
Neighbors interviewed by detectives reported hearing what sounded like a single shot about 1 a.m. but said they did not report it to police.
A Los Angeles native, Ben-Meir came from an entertainment-industry family. His father, Nick, is an entertainment accountant, and Alexis manages musicians.
He attended the Seeds laboratory school at UCLA and the Windward School in West Los Angeles for junior and senior high school students, then went on to Kenyon College in Ohio, where he played tennis and graduated with a degree in music and physics, his family said.
Ben-Meir was credited as a musical coordinator or post-production coordinator on several MTV shows, including the "Top Pop Group," which featured amateur bands competing to be crowned America's best pop group.
-- Ching-Ching Ni, Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein
Photo: A makeshift memorial near the site where Gabriel Aron Ben-Meir was found slain. Credit: Fred Prouser / Reuters