(Jan. 1, 2002) -- Less than three hours into the new year, LB had its first murder. It was in NLB, and police believe the victim and suspect knew each other.
LBPD says that at approximately 2:38 a.m. on new year's day, it responded to a 911 call regarding gunfire and found 32 year old Hermelinda Arreola dead on the living room floor of a residence in the 3000 block of East 63d Street (9th Council district).
Police say Ms. Arreola, the mother of two sons aged 11 and 14, had been shot in the head and upper torso. Investigators believe she was shot with a handgun by her boyfriend, whom police now call a suspect in the case. (The suspect is not the father of her sons).
Police believe that after the shooting, the suspect -- who is currently known only by the names "Pelon" and "Meliton" -- went to a neighbor's house and at gunpoint forced a 30 year old male neighbor to drive him to the area of Anaheim St. and Daisy Ave. The suspect then fled on foot.
LBPD's K-9 unit follow a scent trail to the area of PCH and MLK, but did not locate the suspect.
The suspect is believed to be a male Hispanic between 30 and 40 years old. Police say the motive is unknown and anyone with information regarding the crime is asked to call LBPD Homicide Detectives Richard Birdsall or Scott Lasch at (562) 570-7244.