L.A. Now

Detectives looking for suspects in firebombing that killed three

L.A County Sheriff's detectives are looking for three more suspects in fatal South El Monte firebombing

Los Angeles County sheriff's homicide detectives Tuesday asked for help finding three additional suspects they say threw firebombs into a South El Monte tire shop last month, setting off a massive inferno that killed three teenagers.

Authorities are asking for help locating German Monrreal, 19; Mario Godina, 19; and Estavan Castillo, 20.  Detectives in the case will be submitting evidence to prosecutors to charge the trio with murder later Tuesday, said Sheriff's Lt. Victor Lewandowski.  

Robert Fuentes, a 19-year-old resident of Baldwin Park, was charged with three counts of murder shortly after the fireboming at Cheque Tires sparked a blaze that killed Rodrigo Gonzalez, 17, Destiny Monique Aguirre, 18, and 17-year-old Christopher Jimenez. 

Friends and family of the victims said the three were spending the night at Gonzalez's father's tire shop after a Friday night party for Jimenez's looming 18th birthday. 

Lewandowski said the four friends wanted for murder attended the party, left and returned with Molotov cocktails.

Video surveillance footage taken from a neighboring business shows the four walking near the tire shop with a fifth person of interest, who police said they know only as George.

Lewandowski said detectives are aware of a possible motive in the murders but are not releasing that information. 

The three new suspects are from the Los Angeles area, he said. Lewandowski said the suspects and the firebombing do not appear to be gang-related. 

When firefighters arrived they saw one young man trying to escape the fire from behind heavily locked gates. They tried to rescue him but watched him die before they could get to him, a Fire Department spokeswoman said.

At the late morning press conference, sheriff's detectives were flanked by crying members of family and friends of the three victims.

"I just want everyone to know that this beautiful angel of ours will never see the day of light because of these horrible people," said Alisha Gonzales, a friend of Aguirre, who left behind two daughters, ages 9 months and 3 years old. "Help us find these horrible people that took her forever."

In addition to facing three counts of murder with the special circumstance of committing multiple murders, Fuentes was also charged with one of count of arson causing great bodily injury and one count of using a destructive device and explosive to injure. 

Follow @jpanzar 

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
74°