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Police arrest three suspects in Porter Ranch triple homicide

Police arrest three suspects in Porter Ranch triple homicide
A coroner's van leaves the Renaissance gated community, where Los Angeles police investigated a triple homicide in February. Police arrested a man and woman this week in Maryland and another man in North Carolina. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A triple homicide that shook Porter Ranch in February has led to the arrests of three suspects who were allegedly involved in a drug running scheme with the victims, Los Angeles police said Thursday.

Detectives on Wednesday arrested Chaquetta Cook, 40, of Baltimore, Travis Reid, 40, of Randallstown, Md., and Kenneth Peterson, also 40, of Durham, N.C.

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The victims and suspects were engaged in smuggling “significant quantities” of cocaine between Los Angeles and Baltimore, said Capt. Billy Hayes, who leads the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division.

“It’s a significant drug operation going from Los Angeles to Baltimore,” Hayes said. “It was business dispute related to the illegal drug trade. The individuals we arrested are responsible for the murders.”

Reid and Peterson each face three counts of murder with special circumstances and are being held without bail, Hayes said. Cook faces one count of murder and is being held in lieu of $2-million bail.

All three are awaiting extradition to Los Angeles.

Hayes declined to discuss details of the coast-to-coast drug operation. Reid and Peterson, Hayes said, were not cooperating with police. Investigators found some drugs in the suspects’ homes but have not located the murder weapon, Hayes said.

Police earlier identified the victims as Gary Davidson, 39, who rented the house where the shooting occurred, Benny Lopez, 46, of Anaheim and Jesus Perez, 45, of Perris. All died of gunshot wounds.

The killings took place in a five-bedroom, 4,700-square-foot home in the 20300 block of Via Galileo in the affluent Renaissance gated community on the border of Porter Ranch and Chatsworth.

On Feb. 18, a woman in an upstairs bedroom said she heard what sounded like gunfire. After not being able to reach Davidson, the woman called police, Hayes told reporters at the time.

LAPD officers arrived at the home about 3:50 p.m. and the victims were pronounced dead at the scene. The woman told police she knew Davidson but not the other victims.

From the outset, police did not believe the killings were a random act. Renaissance has two gates. One is automated and requires a security tag and the other is staffed by security guards. Authorities believe Davidson let the three suspects in the house, Hayes said.

Hayes said detectives worked with the FBI, the United States Postal Service, the Maryland State Patrol and police in Baltimore, Baltimore County and Durham County during the investigation.

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