An escaped convict was arrested on suspicion of murder Tuesday in connection with the slaying of a Lancaster man at a bank automatic teller machine, authorities said. Police were still looking for a second assailant.
A telephone tip led investigators to Christopher A. Mann, 19, who was thought to have information about the March 5 killing of Hans Christian Herzog near a Bank of America ATM in Lancaster, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies said.
Herzog, 46, was shot when he returned to his car in the parking lot of the bank on Lancaster Boulevard, said Lt. William Sieber of the sheriff's homicide unit. The assailant dragged Herzog out of his car and drove off in it. Herzog died about 16 hours later, Sieber said.
Sheriff's deputies, who had seen Mann's picture among those of several men suspected in the killing, went to an undisclosed Antelope Valley location Sunday morning and took Mann into custody, Sgt. Robert Stoneman said. Mann was initially held for violating terms of his imprisonment as well as automobile theft, although he was also questioned in connection with the slaying.
Sieber said investigators got the break they were seeking on Tuesday, when Mann led Detectives Rick Graves and John Haynes to Herzog's car, which was submerged in the California Aqueduct at Barrel Springs Road. Mann also took detectives to another site where Herzog's belongings had been hidden, Sieber said.
Officials then arrested him on suspicion of murder, he said.
A surveillance camera at the bank took the gunman's picture, which matches Mann's appearance, Sgt. Robert Stoneman said. Other photographs show Mann arriving on the scene in a truck, and detectives are now looking for the truck's driver, authorities said.
Mann had escaped from the Orion Center, a Van Nuys halfway house, on Feb. 26, four days after the state Department of Corrections placed him there on a community release program for an auto theft conviction, Stoneman said.
Sieber said Mann is accused in the March 10 theft of a pickup truck, stolen from an Antelope Valley family that had been housing Mann for a few days. Mann allegedly took off in the truck while the owners were grocery shopping, he said.
Lancaster Deputy Dist. Atty. Ron Smalstig said the killing attracted a large amount of attention and calls from the public because random slayings are unusual in the area.
Antelope Valley residents have "never had something like this up here, where a man simply using an ATM machine is senselessly and brutally murdered," Smalstig said. "Very few murders up here are this random."