Slaying of MTV coordinator may be linked to shotgun robberies, LAPD says
Los Angeles police are trying to determine whether there is link between Sunday's slaying of MTV music coordinator Gabriel Aron Ben-Meir and a series of shotgun robberies and a homicide over the last two weeks.
LAPD sources said the robber had struck at least eight times in the last two weeks, using a shotgun during street and business robberies in the Mid-City, Southwest L.A. and Wilshire areas. The robber also is responsible for a slaying a week ago, police believe.
The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, stressed that detectives had not made a positive link but considered it a solid lead. A division of the LAPD was on tactical alert Tuesday night looking for the robbery suspect.
The MTV music coordinator was shot execution-style outside his mid-Wilshire apartment, apparently with a shotgun.
Because of the time of the attack, 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.
On Monday afternoon, a bouquet of flowers left by a neighbor marked the spot where Ben-Meir was killed.
A Los Angeles native, Ben-Meir came from an entertainment-industry family. His father, Nick, is an entertainment accountant, and his sister 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.
-- Andrew Blankstein
Photo: Gabriel Aron Ben-Meir