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Baby Killer Convicted PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex Garcia, Sun Contributing Writer   
Thursday, 19 April 2012 04:41

Three-Year-Old Case Almost Closed

A 26-year-old gang member has been convicted of first-degree murder for a shooting outside a Van Nuys home three years ago that killed a 4- month-old boy and wounded his pregnant babysitter and a young man.

Ricardo Hernandez was convicted in the Sept. 27, 2009, slaying of Andrew Garcia. A Van Nuys Superior Court jury also found Hernandez guilty of six counts of attempted murder.

According to police, on the night the incident occurred, the baby's parents, Frank Garcia and Marlene Ramirez, then 21 and 18-years-old, and were going home with Andrew after a baptism party at a Van Nuys banquet hall. Before heading to their North Hollywood home, they were dropping off family friend Anna Contreras, then 28, who was pregnant and lived nearby.

Andrew Garcia (top) was killed during a shooting incident in Van Nuys back in 2009. Neighbors and others made a shrine of the street where the shooting took place with flowers, candles and balloons.

While parked outside a home on the 14300 block of Kittridge Street in Van Nuys, Garcia was out of the car talking with Eric Ramirez, then 18. Marlene was in the car along with Contreras, who was in the back seat bottle-feeding the baby.

Two men, later identified as Hernandez and co-defendant Alfonzo Landa, both members of Blythe Street gang, walked up to the group and one of them asked, "Where are you from?" "Barrio Van Nuys" was Eric's response. Both gangs have had a feud for several years.

Hernandez pulled out a sawed off shotgun and pumped six shots into the group, wounding Eric and Contreras. Andrew was struck in the head. Then Hernandez and Landa ran off.

Contreras and Eric were taken to nearby hospitals and treated. Andrew was airlifted to UCLA Medical Center, where he later died.

"That's really terrible. He's not to blame for anything. There are things that adults do and that babies have no bearing on," said a neighbor then, after hearing the shots and witnessing the commotion that followed.

The case caused great concern and indignation. Dozens of flowers, candles, balloons and teddy bears earmarked the place where Andrew was shot.

That indignation turned into hundreds of tips to police, helping authorities track down the killers.

Hernandez fled the country after the shooting, but was captured by Mexican authorities in the state of Jalisco almost a year later, and returned to the United States.

Co-defendant Landa, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, was sentenced in January to 30 years to life in prison after pleading no contest to voluntary manslaughter, and three counts of attempted murder.

Hernandez faces a maximum of 200 years to life in prison at his May 31 sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Daniel Akemon said.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 April 2012 04:48