Law enforcement authorities in California have arrested a man who allegedly fatally shot a woman in the head with a shotgun on a Hollywood sidewalk more than three decades ago, police announced. Giovani Gonzalez was taken into custody by police in Los Angeles and charged with one count of intentional murder.
According to a press release from the Los Angeles Police Department, Gonzalez, a “documented gang member,” on Nov. 16, 1990 was standing on the sidewalk in a Hollywood neighborhood with the female victim and several other gang members just prior to the fatal shooting.
“The suspect became involved in a verbal argument with the victim and pointed a shotgun at the victim’s head and fired point-blank killing the victim instantly,” police wrote.
When Gonzalez discovered that he was wanted by police in connection with the shooting, he went into hiding, per the release. Investigators learned that Gonzalez, a Guatemalan national, fled back to his native country after the shooting and took shelter in his mother’s home in the town of Achiotillos Monjas, Jalpa.
Authorities continued to pursue Gonzalez and in January 1991, an affidavit for international extradition was signed. The U.S. State Department Office of International Affairs along with the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala and Guatemalan authorities then obtained and began efforts to execute a provisional warrant that had been issued for Gonzalez’s arrest. However, unable to locate the suspect after several years and without any new leads, police said the warrants expired and the case went dormant.
A break in the case finally came in April of 2017, when a regional security officer with the U.S. State Department in Guatemala identified a man named Giovani Gonzalez who matched the suspect’s physical identifiers. The man had recently obtained a new identification card that included information such as a recent address.
Guatemalan law enforcement authorities began conducting surveillance on the residence and were able to confirm that he was the same Giovani Gonzalez wanted for murder in California.
Detectives with the LAPD West Bureau and the District Attorney’s Office Extradition Services Unit renewed a request with the U.S. Office of International Affairs (OIA) to have Gonzalez extradited back to California in January 2021.
Authorities in Guatemala took Gonzalez into custody on Feb. 8, 2021. An order for his extradition back to California was granted on May 3, 2022, and the LAPD’s Foreign Prosecution Liaison Unit took custody of Gonzalez on May 18, 2022, at the Los Angeles International Airport
Police urged anyone with any additional relevant information in the case to contact Detective Ralph Batres at (323) 727-8617.
[images via LAPD]
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