The search continues for others involved.
Almost three months to the date since asking for the public’s assistance to identify suspects involved in the shooting death of a 25-year-old El Monte fast food restaurant employee, Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau investigators provided a case update during a follow up press conference and announced the arrest of a suspect.
At the time of the shooting, Victim Juan Manuel Vidal was on a promising pathway toward major milestones in his life; he graduated as a pharmacy technician and was recently engaged to be married. His dreams were snapped away late in the evening of Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, when he was shot and killed while working at his transition job in a fast food restaurant, located in the 9200 Block of Flair Drive, in El Monte.
Juan and a fellow restaurant employee were held at gunpoint that night by a male adult wearing a Halloween mask and baseball cap as a disguise. The suspect went behind the front service counter, demanded that Juan give him the restaurant’s money, and shot Juan once in the upper torso. The suspect jumped back over the counter and fled the scene, running north onto Flair Drive, where his getaway vehicle waited for him.
Less than a week after her son’s murder, Juan’s mother made a moving plea to the public during a press conference, which took place on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. Detectives believe it was because of the heartbreaking emotion she displayed during the press conference that members of the public with information about the shooting were moved by seeing her deep grief and called detectives. This information led detectives to the identification and arrest of at least one man suspected to be involved.
In a follow-up press conference on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, Juan’s mother attended, once again, but this time to hear Homicide Bureau Captain Steve Katz, Detective Adan Torres and Gustavo Carrillo announce the arrest of Louie Francisco Herrera, 20 years old, of San Gabriel. He was arrested on Monday, Jan. 9 in the city of Alhambra, by LASD Major Crimes Unit personnel. Herrera was charged and booked for murder. He is being held without bail in a Los Angeles County jail facility.
Juan’s mother, Mary, spoke at the press conference to thank Sheriff’s detectives, El Monte Police and the media for their roles in bringing her son’s shooter to justice. “I’d like to thank everybody that helped capture him,” she said tearfully about the arrest of Suspect Herrera. “You guys were so helpful to capture this monster that did this to my son. But I still miss my son.”
Detectives believe a second suspect drove the getaway vehicle and fled at a high rate of speed, eastbound on Flair Drive, away from the crime scene. They are still looking for suspect(s) involved and ask the public for any information which may help complete the investigation.
“Our communities are safer when we work together,” remarked Homicide Bureau unit commander, Captain Steve Katz, about the progression of the investigation. “The success we achieved in this case is due in large part to the willingness of the community to bring forward critical information, ultimately leading to the suspect’s arrest.”
The crime, which occurred in the patrol jurisdiction of the El Monte Police Department, was investigated by Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau detectives as part of a pre-negotiated contract between the two law enforcement agencies. In a show of support for the residents who live in the areas they serve, as well as for the commuters who travel through and the dedicated citizens who work there, Chief David Reynoso and Captain Christopher Williams of the El Monte Police Department attended the press conference.
“I want to thank our partners with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and El Monte Police Detectives for their diligent work in the case,” said Chief Reynoso. “Knowing this killer was identified and arrested will bring some relief to Juan Vidal’s family and prevent the suspect from causing harm to other community members. There is still a lot of work to be done in this investigation, but knowing the suspect in this senseless murder was captured will help calm community fears.”
If you have any information about the shooting, person(s) involved or the escape vehicle, please call Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau Detectives Adan Torres or Gustavo Carrillo at 323-890-5500.
If you wish to remain anonymous, please call “LA Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), or use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 MOBILE APP” on Google play or the App Store, or use the website htpp://lacrimestoppers.org.
Deputy Lillian Peck
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