In one of two high-profile local crimes, a 30-year-old man suspected of killing three people and injuring two others during a shooting spree at a business and home in Downey was charged Monday with three counts of murder and other felonies.
The charges against Jade Douglas Harris include special-circumstance allegations that make him eligible for the death penalty, although prosecutors have not yet decided whether to seek his execution.
Harris was charged with three counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, three counts of kidnapping for carjacking, three counts of carjacking, two counts of kidnapping and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.
The special-circumstance allegations are murder while lying in wait, murder in the commission of a kidnapping, murder in the commission of a carjacking and killing a witness to a crime, according to the district attorney’s office.
Harris’ arraignment, originally scheduled for Monday afternoon, was postponed to Nov. 28.
Harris is accused in the shootings that began around 11:10 a.m. last Wednesday. He allegedly went to the family-owned business United States Fire Protection in the 8700 block of Cleta Street at 8:45 a.m. after responding to an online advertisement for a car for sale, according to the district attorney’s office.
An attorney and spokeswoman for the family said the suspect offered to pay $25,000 in cash for the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, but when he showed up at the business, he pulled out a gun and demanded the car. When he learned the car was a few blocks away at the family’s home, he opened fire, killing Josimar Rojas, 26, of Downey, and Irene Cardenas Reyes, 35, of Cudahy, according to police and prosecutors.
He wounded another woman–52-year-old Maria Fuentes–who was hospitalized in serious condition.
Prosecutors said Harris then forced Susana Perez Ruelas, 34, to drive him and her 13-year-old son to the home where the vehicle was located.
Family spokeswoman Martha Zerehi said that once they arrived there, the man put a gun to the boy’s head and threatened to kill him. Perez Ruelas tried to push the gun away, prompting the suspect to fatally shoot her, then shoot the boy, who played dead, Zerehi said.
The suspect drove off in the black Camaro, which was later recovered in Los Angeles, police said.
The teen was wounded but survived and was released from a hospital and returned to his family, according to Downey police Lt. Dean Milligan.
Police initially said the shooting targeted members of a single family, but two of the slain victims, Rojas and Cardenas, were not related to the other victims but merely worked at the family-owned business.
Harris–who is being held at Men’s Central Jail–was arrested around 10 a.m. Friday, Milligan said. He was one of four people who were initially detained Thursday, but the other three were eventually released after being questioned overnight.
Because the charges make Harris eligible for the death penalty, the district attorney’s office has asked that he be held without bail.
The complaint filed by the district attorney’s office states that Harris has prior felony convictions for robbery, attempted robbery and carrying a concealed weapon.
In a second schooling in Inglewood, the Los Angeles Coroner’s offices has positively identified the body of the suspect in a double homicide.
The man responsible for the murder of Filimon Lamas and his 4-year-old son, and the shooting of Lamas’ wife and two children has been positively identified.
Coroner’s investigators contacted the Inglewood Police Department to announce that the body recovered from a burned residence at 4939 W. 99 th Street in Inglewood late Saturday night was in fact Desmond John Moses, born June 12, 1957 (age 55).
The identification of Moses was made after the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office performed an autopsy on the body.
Lamas’ wife, Gloria Jimenez, was advised by Inglewood detectives.
Inglewood Police were called to the property on Saturday, Oct. 20 at approximately 4 a.m., regarding a report of 10 gunshots heard.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department received a simultaneous call of a structure fire at the location.
The police located five shooting victims in the front house and observed that the rear house on the same property was fully engulfed in flames. It is believed that the suspect started the structure fire in the rear house. Immediate firefighting efforts were hampered by fears that the suspect might be in the rear residence and armed, and the presence of fallen power lines added to complications for firefighters.
All of the victims were transported to local hospitals for treatment.
The victims included: 30-year-old Lamas with multiple gunshot wounds; he later died in surgery; a 4-year-old male with a gunshot wound to the head determined to be the first victim’s son, he too, later died in surgery.
A 28-year-old female with gunshot wounds to both legs; and determined to be Llama’s wife; A 6-year-old male with a gunshot wound to the pelvis- another Llamas child; a 7-year-old female with a gunshot wound to the chest; an uninjured 8-year-old male. During the incident, the male adult, who is believed to be the father of the children, used his body to shield the children. The female victim, who is presumed to be the mother of the children, ran from the residence carrying the 4-year-old child, who later died. This extraordinary rescue attempt by the mother occurred in spite of the fact that she had gunshot wounds to both legs.
In response to this tragic and senseless crime, Inglewood Chief Mark Fronterotta, and the men and women of the Inglewood Police Department (in close coordination with the Lamas and Jimenez families) have established a fund to assist the surviving family members during this traumatic period. Any donation, large or small, will be graciously accepted and appreciated.
Proceeds will assist with the family’s immediate and future needs.
Donations can be made via:
ICE Federal Credit Union: One West Manchester Blvd., Suite 603, Inglewood, CA 90301. (310) 412-5493; Account #5223: The Lamas Family Donation Fund.