On Nov. 20, someone robbed Luis Valadez and shot him to death in his Lynwood market on Long Beach Blvd. More than two weeks later, friends, neighbors and relatives gathered for a candlight vigil and asked witnesses to come forward.
Valadez's son, David, said he'd always worried about his father working in such a traditionally high-crime area. But Valadez loved his shop and the Lynwood community.
The death - the family's second loss this year - has been hard to handle.
"My mother is destroyed," David Valadez said. "She’s going through a tough moment of her life. And it’s really tough. My brothers, they both have a lot of anger towards these suspects, these people who took my father’s life."
Los Angeles County Sheriff's detectives are looking for three men and one woman, who they believe acted as a lookout, in connection with the murder.
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A jury found ex-Lynwood City Council members Louis Byrd, 80, and Fernando Pedroza, 47 guilty of misappropriation of public money.
The verdict came Tuesday, after four days of deliberation. The men will be sentened August 27 and face up to six and five years, respectively, in prison.
The Los Angeles District Attorneys office investigated the poltiicans for four years, after a tip from a former city manager saying council members were paying themselves substantial salaries for working for apparently purposeless city agencies. Charges against two were dropped. Another official, Arturo Reyes, pleaded guilty to grand theft and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 5.
According to the DA's office, Byrd and Pedroza paid themselves up to $40,000 a year for participating on the Lynwood Public Finance Authority and Lynwood Information Inc. Prosecutors argued that any work the council members did for the committees was part of their jobs as city council members and did not warrant extra pay.