Police say robbery crew targeted, shot vulnerable people at scenic overlooks in RPV, Pasadena

An aerial frame of a parked blue car and four people walking around it.
Officials inspect a car where two people were found dead Monday morning in Rancho Palos Verdes.
(KTLA-TV Channel 5)

The Pasadena Police Department arrested six people Wednesday suspected in separate homicides in the last few days in Pasadena and Rancho Palos Verdes in which the victims were found inside cars parked near scenic overlooks.

The Pasadena shooting occurred early Saturday along Angeles Crest Highway. Police were contacted shortly after 3:20 a.m. about a car crash near mile marker 36.28. (Police had previously reported that the incident was at mile marker 28.36.)

Officers reported finding Los Angeles resident Jessie Munoz, 32, who had been shot several times. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A female passenger in the vehicle, who told police she was a friend of Munoz, was not injured.


Lt. Monica Cuellar, a spokesperson for Pasadena police, said the shooting was thought to have occurred during a robbery.

A couple of days later, a man and a woman were shot to death inside a blue Subaru parked at an ocean overlook on Palos Verdes Drive.

The crash in Valley Glen is the latest LAPD pursuit to end in injury. LAPD data show that almost of half of people injured or killed during chases were bystanders.

July 26, 2023

The victims, Jorge Ramos, 36, and Taylorraven Whittaker, 26, were said to have been dating, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Ramos was known by neighbors and friends as a car lover and a member of a local Subaru enthusiast group.

“It is with heavy hearts that we confirm our beloved brother Jorge has passed away,” Team Subaru 15 SoCal said in a statement posted to Instagram. “This comes as a surprise to all of us... Join us in lifting a member of the Subaru Community and S15 SoCal OG to his resting place in the sky.”

During a news conference Wednesday, Pasadena Police Lt. Keith Gomez said some of the suspects were arrested in the San Fernando Valley riding in a vehicle that matched the description of one seen at the Pasadena shooting site. He said detectives had shared evidence with the Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating the Rancho Palos Verdes killings.


“We do believe there is a connection,” Gomez said, but he deferred questions on the investigation to the Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff’s Det. Ray Lugo said Wednesday night that four people were suspected in the Rancho Palos Verdes homicides: three males who approached Ramos’ Subaru and a woman who waited in a getaway car. One or more of the male suspects opened fire, Lugo said, describing the shooting as “a robbery attempt that went wrong.”

Lugo said it appeared that Ramos and Whittaker were randomly targeted and were not followed to the overlook. The detective declined to say whether the suspects in the Rancho Palos Verdes shooting had been linked to any other crimes.

Gomez said the suspects in the Pasadena case might be connected to other armed robberies in Los Angeles County but provided no specifics.

The investigation indicated the suspects targeted victims who were in remote areas with poor cellphone reception and who were distracted at the time of the assaults, Gomez said.

Gomez declined to name the suspects until charges are filed by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.


The arrests occurred in two locations: Five men were arrested early Wednesday in the 7600 block of Woodman Avenue in Panorama City, and a woman was arrested in the 900 block of West 85th Street in the area of Westchester. Pasadena police were assisted by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Los Angeles Police Department in making the arrests, during which two handguns and a rifle were seized.

Cuellar expected charges to be filed by Monday at the latest, and said investigators were pursuing homicide charges for all six.

Times staff writer Noah Goldberg contributed to this report.