An Inglewood man has been charged with murder, attempted murder and hate crimes in connection with a series of shootings last summer that prosecutors say targeted blacks in South Los Angeles.
Daniel Martinez, 30, pleaded not guilty to the amended charges Monday, nearly a year after the 2018 shootings, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Prosecutors say Martinez intentionally targeted people because of their race. All of the eight victims — six men, a woman and a child — were black, said Ricardo Santiago, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office.
The alleged rampage began Aug. 17, 2018, when authorities say Martinez fired on Samuel Isaac Ferguson, a 27-year-old college student who was driving home from work on the 91 Freeway in Gardena. His white Nissan Sentra was riddled with bullets after Martinez shot at him from another car, California Highway Patrol Lt. Laura Hill said.
Ferguson, a speech pathology student at Cerritos College, was pronounced dead at a hospital. Investigators don’t know what prompted the shooting, Hill said.
Two days later, on Aug. 19, a family with a 3-month-old baby in their car was targeted in a drive-by shooting in Hyde Park, authorities said.
The driver testified during a preliminary hearing last month that a car stopped next to his vehicle as he was waiting at a stoplight on West Boulevard, and a man got out and pointed a gun at his rolled-up window.
The man said he ducked and pushed his wife out of the passenger window as the man with the gun began shooting. The couple suffered scrapes from broken glass. Their infant daughter, who was strapped in her car seat in the back, had glass in her carrier but was unhurt.
The following day, three friends were shot outside an Inglewood apartment complex, authorities said. Alhmond Sherrick Ugene “Juice” Davis, 27, and two friends were targeted as they sat talking outside the complex in the 900 block of West Beach Avenue.
“He had just come from a job interview,” Inglewood Police Capt. Mark Fried said of Davis, who had recently moved to Los Angeles. “He and his friends were just having a conversation, like any of us would outside our homes.”
Police said a car drove up and a person inside began shooting at the group. All three were taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds. Davis, who was struck in the neck, died that evening, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records. His two friends survived.
Prosecutors say Martinez targeted another black person three days later, on the morning of Aug. 23, when he shot into a car stopped at a light at Hyde Park Boulevard and West Avenue in Inglewood. The driver was taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds, which he survived.
Martinez was arrested that night by Inglewood police, who have released few details about how he was found or why he was a suspect in the shootings.
He is being held without bail on charges of two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder, according to the district attorney’s office. Special allegations against Martinez include multiple murders that were intentional because of race and firing a gun from a motor vehicle.
Prosecutors had previously identified Martinez as a gang member but have since withdrawn that description, and an initial special allegation that he committed the shootings to benefit a gang was dismissed at last month’s preliminary hearing, Santiago said.
Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to call the California Highway Patrol’s Investigative Services Unit at (323) 644-9550 or the Inglewood Police Department at (310) 412-5246. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Inglewood’s anonymous tip line (888) 412-7463 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.