Los Angeles County prosecutors have declined to file murder charges against two men arrested in connection with the shooting death of an unarmed security guard outside a popular nightclub, authorities said Wednesday.
Abraham Alvarado, 24, of Pacoima was released Wednesday, two days after he learned he was a suspect and turned himself in at the Burbank Police Station, said Lt. Larry Cook.
Jose Molina, 21, who had also been arrested on suspicion of murder, remained in jail Wednesday for violating the terms of his probation, authorities said. Police refused to say why Molina was on probation.
Burbank police and the district attorney’s office said the men were not charged with murder because police lacked sufficient evidence.
“We haven’t rejected the case, we have simply referred it back to the police for further investigation,” said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office. “The case is still under investigation.”
The men had been arrested in the May 6 shooting of Walter H. Thomas III, 44, a security guard at a Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus restaurant in downtown Burbank. Witnesses told police that Thomas was patrolling the parking lot as part of the restaurant’s security detail when a man walked up and shot him at close range.
The gunman escaped by running up a nearby freeway on-ramp before apparently hopping into a waiting car, police said.
Cook said Alvarado and Molina were among several people who had been thrown out of the Black Angus bar before the shooting for fighting with employees.
Police believe that after the two were ejected, the men returned and shot Thomas, Cook said. A coroner’s spokesman said Wednesday that Thomas died from a single gunshot wound to the groin area.