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Alcohol and Gun Mix for Deadly Shooting PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex Garcia, Sun Contributing Writer   
Thursday, 12 April 2012 03:13

Suspects Tried to Hide Their Crime in the Trash

ALEX GARCIA/SFVS

According to police, the suspects tried to get rid of the body of Saul Zacarias by dumping him into a dumpster. Monday was trash pick-up day and authorities think they hoped the body would not be taken away by garbage collectors.

A day after a deadly shooting at an apartment complex in Van Nuys, drops of blood were still visible staining the stairs leading to the building's underground parking lot, where on Sunday night authorities found the body of Saul Zacarias in a dumpster while his companions, now suspects in the crime, were hiding under some cars.

It was the end to a deadly combination of alcohol and a loaded weapon that cost Zacarias, 25, his life, and his friends their freedom.

Los Angeles Police Detective Rob Bub said that around 7:25 p.m. Sunday night, April 8, police got a call of shots fired in the apartment complex located in the 14600 block of Friar Street.

There, they found Tito Diaz, 43, and William Jimenez, 25, hiding in the building's parking lot. The suspects told police they and other men were drinking alcohol together in one of the apartment units and were passing a handgun back and forth between themselves.

Two shots then went off, and one bullet hit Zacarias in the head, Bub said, alleging that Diaz and Jimenez then tried to dispose of the victim's body by discarding it in a dumpster. Monday April 9, was trash day, and police think the suspects hoped garbage collectors would take Zacarias' body away.

Police did not provide details of the shooting or whether the weapon, which was recovered, was fired in anger or went off accidentally.

Diaz was booked on suspicion of murder and held on $1 million bail. Jimenez was booked as an accessory to murder, with bail set at $500,000.

Zacarias grew up in Guatemala with Jimenez and the group was known for their raucous celebrations, said neighbors, many of whom heard the shots, but never suspected what was going on a few feet from their door.

"I heard a lot of commotion and then a shot," said neighbor Richard Sugges.

Ana Martinez, whose apartment is next to the one where the incident took place, said she heard two shots spread about five minutes in between and then "a groan."

But she didn't hear anything else and went to sleep, only to find police roaming the complex in the morning.

"It's really scary, because nothing like this had ever happened here," said Martinez.

Maria Estrada, the building's manager said about seven young men lived in the unit where the tragedy took place. She said they were all from Central America and often played soccer on the weekends.

"You would see them come in yelling and celebrating when they won or complaining when they lost," she remembered.

On the night when the shooting took place, she said she didn't pay attention to the rambunctious celebration just above her apartment, as she herself was focused on a soccer game involving her favorite team.

"They often celebrate pretty loudly when they're watching games. They yell and stomp, so I didn't think nothing of it," she said upon hearing something "fall" heavily on the floor.

But she said her daughter then saw two of the men, presumably Diaz and Jimenez, walking towards the parking lot in a suspicious manner.

When police showed up a few minutes later and told her what had happened, she couldn't believe it.

"I was so shocked and so scared. I'm still nervous," she said Monday morning. "They told me there was blood all over the living room (of their apartment)."

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Last Updated on Thursday, 12 April 2012 20:05