Victim Dies 2 Days After Being Shot, Beaten : 6 Held in Burbank Gang Slaying

Times Staff Writer

A 21-year-old Burbank man who police say was shot and beaten Saturday night by six Burbank gang members, died Monday afternoon. Police said it was the first gang-related killing in the city in more than five years.

Burbank police said Monday that they arrested four adults and two 17-year-olds, all Burbank residents and suspected members of Trese Rivas gang, on suspicion of murder. No more arrests are anticipated, Detective Frank Turner said.

The victim, Juan Ruvalcaba, was shot once in the head, then struck repeatedly with blunt instruments just before midnight Saturday as he talked with a neighbor outside his home in the 200 block of West Verdugo Avenue, Turner said. Ruvalcaba’s assailants fled on foot, Turner said.

Ruvalcaba was taken to St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, where he died, Turner said. He had been on a life-support system since the attack.


Weapon Recovered

The adults arrested were identified as Rodolpho Navarro, 19; Freddie Casillas, 19; Johnny Herrera, 21, and Castaneda Selsa, 19. They are being held without bail in Burbank Jail. The minors were taken to Sylmar Juvenile Hall.

Police have recovered a weapon believed used in the killing, Turner said. He declined to identify the weapon or how it was found.

There have been only two other gang killings in the city, the last in April, 1980, the detective said.


Burbank has only one gang, Trese Rivas, and little violent gang activity, Turner said.

“This gang was around for a few years, several years ago, but they were pretty much a junior high school gang, pretty much for appearances. . . . We don’t generally have a gang problem. We don’t have a conflict.”

Police believe Ruvalcaba was a member of Cypress Park gang of East Los Angeles, Turner said, adding that Ruvalcaba’s relatives told police he was a non-active member of the group.

“We’re still trying to piece together a motive,” Turner said. “There seems to be some dislike because of typical gang behavior, crossing off each other’s graffiti, just the typical gang animosity.”