Santa Ana nightclub beating: Reward seeking four at large is doubled

Vanesa Tapia Zavala, who was arrested in the beating death of 23-year-old Kim Pham outside a Santa Ana nightclub, is facing a murder charge.


The Santa Ana City Council pledged to match a $5,000 reward from a business association for information leading to the arrest of additional suspects in the fatal beating of a 23-year-old nightclub patron.

Downtown Inc. offered a $5,000 reward in the Saturday morning attack on Kim Pham outside the Crosby in downtown Santa Ana. With the council’s action, the total reward amount stands at $10,000.

Pham was beaten into unconsciousness early Saturday in the city’s historic district. She died Tuesday after being removed from life support.


Vanesa Zavala, the lone person arrested so far in the incident, was set to be arraigned on murder charges Wednesday. Prosecutors have asked that she be held on $1-million bail.

The $5,000 pledge from the city amid public discussion Tuesday about safety in downtown Santa Ana, an area that has become an increasingly popular destination spot.

State Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), who returned from Sacramento to attend the council meeting, promised to contribute a “significant” amount of money to the reward.

Correa called the attack “brutal and senseless.”

“The fact that you had a lot of witnesses, that’s what’s really troublesome,” Correa said. “How many people actually stepped in and tried to stop it? … I know there was a security guard that was there, but apparently this tragedy still happened.”

Santa Ana needs to increase its police presence in the area, Correa said, and possibly ask local businesses for funds to increase private security.

“This incident does raise some issues,” Correa said.

Ryan Chase, president of Downtown Inc., said the Crosby had security inside and outside the establishment, but Chase said he didn’t know how many.


Carlos Rojas, Santa Ana’s interim chief of police, said that in 2013 there were no calls for service to the Crosby and only 13 calls in the five-block area around the nightspot.

But some at the council meeting called for increased foot patrols, surveillance cameras and even the reopening a police substation in the area.

“As we grow and we become a destination point we need to grow intelligently,” Councilman Vincent Sarmiento said.

Sam Romero, a 71-year-old Santa Ana resident, said the city’s downtown had grown in the wrong ways.

“You continue to approve more and more liquor licenses,” he told the City Council. “It’s only going to get worse.”


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