By Trevor Morgan
This story was updated at 6:45 p.m. on Monday
Two people were shot and killed in broad daylight at The Village Apartments in Newhall at approximately 10:50 a.m. on Saturday, according to Lt. Hugo Reynaga, homicide investigator with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Reynaga said a man and a 16-year-old boy were shot multiple times in the upper torso while at a pool in the center of the complex — all in the presence of children sitting in a nearby hot tub. Investigators believe the shooting to be gang-related.
The two victims were later identified as Brian Chevez, 25, and Cameron Stokes, 16, according to Aimee Earl, an investigator for the L.A. County Coroner-Medical Examiner’s office.
“Early investigation shows that it may be gang-related. These two individuals were sitting by the pool. Witnesses said there was some other juveniles sitting in the Jacuzzi across from the pool when the shooting took place,” said Reynaga. “Witnesses said they saw a male adult looking [and] reach over the fence of the pool… He reached over the fence and started unloading his firearm.”
Reynaga said following the shooting, the suspect ran north of the pool toward a parking lot.
A vehicle matching a description provided by witnesses, a white Ford Mustang convertible, was stopped on the 26900 block of Sierra Highway, in the parking lot of Stater Bros. Two people were detained at gunpoint during the stop.
According to Reynaga, two people, an adult and a juvenile, were arrested. Reynaga added the adult suspect had not yet been formally charged as of Monday, and he could not release additional information about the other suspect because he is a minor.
An 18-year-old Sylmar resident was arrested on suspicion of murder at 1:16 p.m. on Saturday, according to the booking logs for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. That murder suspect was being held in lieu of $2 million bail as of Monday.
While still early in the investigation, Reynaga said this was possibly an execution taken out on behalf of a rival gang and that a gang detective was on the scene assisting them with the investigation.
“That’s usually what happens in gang shootings,” said Reynaga. “They’re targeting each other, rival gangs and that’s what it seems like at this point with this incident.”
The incident was first called out in regards to two victims sustaining gunshot wounds at The Village Apartments, located near the intersection of Silverado and Newhall Avenue.
Paramedics with the L.A. County Fire Department attempted to aid the victims, but both were pronounced dead at the scene.
At the scene of the shooting, shortly after it occurred, residents began to pour out of their apartments — and friends and family of the victims arrived. One body remained temporarily uncovered as it lay on a poolside lounge chair. Another body lay covered on the concrete deck beside it. The body on the lounge chair was subsequently covered by deputies as an investigation began.
Tammy, a resident of The Village for the past year, lives with her grandson, who was a friend of the decedent. She said she’s moving soon, alarmed by the recent uptick of gang activity in the area.
Tammy agreed for an interview on the condition The Signal does not use her last name.
“I just got word that someone got killed down here. My grandson called me and told me. He just said ‘please go check’ and see if it was who he thought it was. And it is,” said Tammy. “He’s at Legoland right now with his nephew. And, you know, they just got word and he’s bawling his eyes out over there.”
Several residents said they have become fearful of recent violence in the area and specifically at The Village Apartments — where three shootings have recently occurred.
On March 11, A 23-year-old man was stabbed and killed at Dooley’s Liquor and Market in Newhall, just under 1.5 miles from The Village Apartments.
“Investigation is still ongoing and any leads that we can get on this case, the investigators will be glad to work to work those to exhaustion,” said Reynaga. “I’m not really familiar with this area. We did have a gang detective assisting us in our walkthrough and it seems like there [has] been a steadily increasing gang activity in this in this complex alone. So, that’s all I have to say about that.”
By 4:30 p.m., detectives were still on the scene — as were the bodies of the two victims.
Anyone with information about this incident can contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP on Google play or the Apple App Store or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.
Signal Staff Writer Rylee Holwager contributed to this report.