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Charges filed against suspect in San Fernando Valley shooting rampage

Charges were filed Monday against the suspect in a shooting rampage in the San Fernando Valley that left four dead last week. Gerry Dean Zaragoza, a 26-year-old man from Canoga Park, has been charged with four counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of attempted robbery, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

On July 25, Zaragoza fatally shot his 56-year-old father and 33-year-old-brother at an apartment in the 21900 block of Roscoe Boulevard in Canoga Park before 2 a.m., officials said. He also shot his mother in the hand, they said. Zaragoza then made his way to North Hollywood, where he allegedly opened fire outside of a gas station at 2:45 a.m. in the 6700 block of Vineland Avenue. Police found a man and a woman with gunshot wounds. The woman, Azucena Lepe, 45, died at a hospital. The district attorney’s press release identifies Azucena as Zaragoza’s “former girlfriend.”

At 7:45 a.m., Zaragoza tried to rob a man outside of a Bank of America branch at Sherman Way and Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Canoga Park, officials said, and at 1 p.m., they said he fatally shot a man inside an Orange Line bus at Victory Boulevard and Woodley Avenue in Van Nuys. The last shooting seemed to be random, police said.

Los Angeles police conducted a roughly 12-hour manhunt that ended in Zaragoza’s arrest.

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Zaragoza is subject to the death penalty due to a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, according to the press release. But a decision to seek capital punishment has not yet been made. If Zaragoza is convicted, he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole. Zaragoza is expected to be arraigned Monday at Los Angeles County Superior Court in Van Nuys.


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