Van Nuys Man Sought in Killing of 2 Store Clerks

Los Angeles police on Monday were searching for a gunman who opened fire in a crowded auto parts store in Van Nuys over the weekend, killing two employees.

Byron Jackson, 40, of Van Nuys, allegedly got into a dispute Sunday with clerks at an AutoZone store in the 16500 block of Sherman Way after he was denied a refund on an auto part, Det. Angel Lopez said.

Witnesses told police that Jackson, a regular customer, returned to the store at 1:35 p.m. with a gun and fired several shots at two employees.

Carlos Avalos, 44, of Van Nuys died at the scene.


Francisco Mercado, 34, of Pacoima was shot several times in the upper torso and died at 1:20 p.m. Monday at Northridge Hospital Medical Center.

Carlos Monroy, an employee at an AutoZone in Reseda who knew the victims, said Jackson was denied a refund on a $20 auto part.

He said Mercado and Avalos have both worked at the store for five years.

Lopez said Jackson drove away in a 1994 light-blue Dodge Dakota. His license plate number is 6M29889. Police are asking anyone with information on the shooting to call Van Nuys Division detectives at (818) 756-8377.