Crime & Justice

Neighbors say they hardly saw alleged serial shooter

File: Los Angeles police believe Alexander Hernandez, 34, shot 7 people.
File: Los Angeles police believe Alexander Hernandez, 34, shot 7 people.
Screencap from NBC LA

Update 5:56 p.m. On Wednesday, a man who answered the door at alleged serial shooter Alexander Hernandez’s residence declined to talk to KPCC. Hernandez allegedly went on a five-day serial shooting rampage in the Los Angeles area.

Some neighbors in the quiet cul-de-sac on Kismet Avenue said they hardly saw Hernandez in the neighborhood and didn’t speak to him. 

Most described a noisy and chaotic Sunday when SWAT teams surrounded Hernandez’s house and arrested him after several hours. 

Click here to see an interactive map/timeline of the shootings.

Promo image for spree shooting map

Dee Bascom lives a few houses down from where it all happened. She noticed police gathering around the neighborhood late Sunday morning. 

“We were coming back from the store and we saw a bunch of cops by the park. … We didn’t think anything of it,” she said. “Then we drive down and another cop, drive down and another cop..."

Another neighbor who lives directly across from Hernandez said she and her husband were evacuated from their house right before 9 p.m. That’s about the time Bascom remembers a helicopter flying so low it shook her house. She said the whole ordeal lasted 10 to 12 hours. 

“It’s a quiet neighborhood,” Bascom said. “You don’t hear nothing around here.” She was surprised to learn of the murder charges against Hernandez and the accusations police have made about the three shootings on Sunday. 

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I was like, 'how could we not know something was going on.’ I mean we’re right here, three or four houses down.”

In 2010, Hernandez's girlfriend at the time filed a restraining order against him citing intimidation, verbal threats and an incident in which he punched her car and broke the windows.

"I am afraid for my safety and that of my daughters. I am afraid (his) behavior will further escalate and I do not want to see what he is capable of," the woman filed in asking for the restraining order.

Erika Aguilar with Chris Keller/KPCC

Update 2:52 p.m. A man accused of going on a five-day rampage of serial shootings in the Los Angeles area has made his first court appearance on charges that could lead to the death penalty.

Alexander Hernandez made the brief appearance Wednesday in Superior Court in the San Fernando Valley, where authorities say he carried out most of his crimes.

Arraignment was waived, however, and he was ordered held without bail. The next court date will be Sept. 17.

Hernandez is charged with one count of capital murder, two counts of attempted murder and three counts of animal cruelty.

Authorities say they expect him to be charged with two other killings during the shooting spree.

Three people and two dogs were killed and four people were critically injured. Police have called him a serial killer.

The Associated Press

Previously: A man who authorities are now calling a serial killer opened fire on Los Angeles-area streets for five straight days until he was finally arrested, police said.

By then, three people and two dogs were dead, four people were critically injured and 34-year-old Alexander Hernandez was in police custody, Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said at a Tuesday night news conference.

Prosecutors have charged Hernandez with one count of capital murder, two counts of attempted murder and three counts of animal cruelty. He's expected to be arraigned Wednesday, and charges in the other shootings were expected.

"This man is and was a serial killer," said Bill McSweeney, Los Angeles County sheriff's chief of detectives.

Police gave a chronological outline of the shootings investigators believe Hernandez is responsible for. They were apparently random and there was no known link between the victims or motives.

Police said Hernandez had a pistol-grip shotgun in his possession that investigators believe was used in the attacks. He has not been cooperative with officers, Albanese said.

Prosecutors didn't know if Hernandez had retained an attorney.

Police believe Hernandez worked alone and is the sole suspect in the shootings. Detectives pieced together the incidents because of the timing, weapon used and descriptions of the vehicle, McSweeney said. Investigators will be reviewing unsolved shootings dating back several years that involve similar descriptions of a tan or gold SUV and shotgun.

Hernandez has served prison time and has four prior convictions, including possession for sale of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance with a firearm, and possession of a firearm by a felon, authorities said.

The charges against Hernandez carry a potential death penalty, and prosecutors plan to ask that he be held without bail.

The Associated Press

This story has been updated.