LOS ANGELES, CA – A man was shot and killed as he and his family were trying to get tacos in south Los Angeles, California.
The incident seems to be nothing more than a heartbreaking case of mistaken identity as the alleged shooter thought that the victim was in a gang.
A family is struggling with a shocking loss after a young father was shot to death in front of his wife and two children in South Los Angeles while they were out picking up food. https://t.co/apFbZzrHTJ
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) November 16, 2021
The incident occurred on November 13th when the victim, James Vargas, was walking to a taco stand on the corner of Central Avenue and 92nd Street with his wife and two small children.
As the family was walking toward the stand, two men in a Chevy Tahoe approached them.
According to witnesses at the scene, one of the men in the Tahoe asked James where he was from and what gang he represented. Before James could reply, the man allegedly shot him in the chest.
James immediately collapsed and the two men in the Tahoe fled the scene.
Los Angeles Police officers responded to the scene and desperately tried to save him by doing CPR. When medics arrived on the scene, they took over life-saving measures and transported him to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
A person who advised he was at the scene was interviewed by Fox News, the unnamed person told them:
“They were getting food at this place right here. Then they [suspects] drove up on him asking where are you from, then they are going to just jump out and smoke him?”
The entire Vargas family is struggling to understand why someone murdered James. Family and friends noted that James was a dedicated family man and was never involved in a gang, which the Los Angeles Police Department confirms.
James’ sister, Kathy Vargas, spoke about the type of person James was and her difficulty in understanding why it happened. She said:
“He [James] was never the one to start anything so the fact that this came out of nowhere with him getting shot like that. He just didn’t deserve that.”
James’ brother, Billy Vargas, spoke about him and who he was as a person. Billy spoke about how James was a dedicated husband and father who was a restaurant manager. Billy noted that James was never the type of person that would be involved in anything confrontational like a gang setting. Billy said:
“My brother, my friend, I am never going to see again or grow old together…My brother is not the confrontational type, he was not even the person to pick a fight over anyone.”
James’ brother-in-law, Manuel Rivero, reflected on James’ murder and the impact it is having on the family. He said:
“For someone to come up to him [James] and ask him where he is from and not even give him a chance to answer and just take his life away, it is really unfair.”
As the family grieves and works to understand the situation, a GoFundMe account has been established to assist them in medical and funeral expenses. The author of the GoFundMe account, Johana Aparicio, wrote in part:
“James was a wonderful husband, father, friend, brother, and uncle. James leaves behind his wife Elvia and two children, Jamison and Mikaela. The Vargas family is now faced with the unimaginable task of carrying on without their beloved partner and father.”
A 30-year-old man was shot and killed in front of his family in South L.A. on Sunday after an unknown suspect accused him of being part of a gang. The man's family says he had no gang affiliations.https://t.co/PSIpOsfao6
— KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO (@KNX1070) November 17, 2021
The Los Angeles Police Department has released very little information concerning their ongoing investigation other than that the shooter and the driver of the green Tahoe are allegedly hispanic.
At this time, the Los Angeles Police Department is asking anyone who may have any information on the case to please contact their homicide division.
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The LAPD noted that the rape suspect in custody was already on probation for a previous narcotics offense during the time of the incident.
Police arrested 45-year-old Terry Edward Scott Jr. at approximately 3:20 p.m. within the 500 block of South San Pedro Street on October 6th under suspicion of rape and kidnapping in connection with a September 26th incident where a teenage girl was victimized.
Authorities say that on September 26th at roughly 9:00 p.m., the teenage girl and Scott were riding on the same Metro train from a downtown Long Beach station but were not riding together as a pair of sorts.
Scott allegedly tried approaching the teen several times on the train, which she later moved to a different train car to avoid him.
The train was headed toward north to the Los Angeles area, when the teen girl reportedly exited the train and hopped on a bus, with police saying the suspect followed her onto the same bus. After the victim got off of the bus near Vernon Avenue and San Pedro Street, authorities say that Scott continued to tail the young girl.
In a statement released by the LAPD, it’s alleged that Scott committed the attack at an apartment complex parking lot:
“The suspect forced the victim to a parking lot of an apartment building where he threatened to kill her and then raped her.”
Police attributed credit to numerous tips that came in regarding the October 6th arrest of Scott, which said tips were likely due to authorities releasing surveillance images of the suspect while he was still at-large.
Scott was arraigned on October 8th, with officials noting that he’s being held without bond.
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