Suspect in 1992 Van Nuys Slaying Is Arrested in Mexico

Mexican authorities on Wednesday arrested a suspect in the October, 1992, shooting death of a Coca-Cola salesman who was killed while speaking to his fiancee on the telephone, a Los Angeles police detective said.

Law enforcement officials arrested Ramon Reyes at a meat packing plant owned by his family in Durango, Mexico, early Wednesday, said Detective Stephen Fisk of the Los Angeles Police Department.

“We had information that the man was in Mexico so we took our case to the Mexican authorities and after they reviewed it for more than a year they issued a warrant for his arrest,” Fisk said.


Reyes was one of three Pacoima men sought in connection with the slaying of Robert Ward, a Coca-Cola salesman from Palmdale who was shot in the back of the head during a robbery at a Ralphs supermarket on Sherman Way in Van Nuys, police said.

Jose Santillan, who turned himself in, was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison for his role in the slaying. Authorities said they believed Santillan drove the getaway car in a robbery spree that carried the men to supermarkets in Sherman Oaks, Sunland and Studio City.

A third suspect, Louie Velarde, who was 20 at the time of the shooting, is still at large, Fisk said.

“He is the next one we are going to capture,” Fisk said. “It’s just a matter of time.”

Ward’s death sparked a call for increased security at supermarkets around the state, including electronic security equipment such as silent alarms, video cameras and other countermeasures to increase employee safety.