Police struggle to solve gang member's death

Three months after Canoga Park resident Noe Vasquez’s body was found on Angeles Crest Highway, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detectives say their investigation of his death has gone cold.

“We’re kind of at a standstill where we’re waiting for the right person to call us,” Homicide Det. Brian Schoonmaker of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station said Wednesday. “We don’t have any leads at this point.”

Vasquez, 35, was found near mile marker 27 on Angeles Crest Highway at around 5:20 a.m. May 10, prompting officers to shut down the highway for several hours while the investigation took place.

Ed Winter, assistant chief at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, said an autopsy confirmed that Vasquez died of multiple gunshot wounds. Winter said the autopsy also confirmed detectives’ assertion that Vasquez’s body had been moved to Angeles Crest Highway after the killing had taken place.

Schoonmaker, the lead homicide detective on the case, said that because Vasquez was a gang member, friends, family members and associates who could say where Vasquez was shot or provide another break weren’t talking.

“He was involved in gangs and nefarious activity, so we’re having a difficult time getting people to talk to us,” Schoonmaker said.

Vasquez had several prior felony convictions and was a known associate of the Canoga Park Alabama gang, or CPA, Schoonmaker said. Schoonmaker said Vasquez’s connection to CPA — a predominantly Hispanic gang that is one of the West San Fernando Valley’s oldest — likely caused his death.

“We’re not sure if it was a rival-gang thing or an in-house thing, because we’ve got evidence going both ways,” Schoonmaker said. “We’re still talking to people, but they’re being real cagey with us.”

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