to watch video taken at the crime scene shortly after the victim's body was discovered.
A 60-year-old man was found shot to death in front of an Artesia home early Thursday, marking the city's first homicide in nearly four years.
The events leading to the discovery of the wounded victim -- later identified as Serafin Garcia of Artesia -- began about 1:50 a.m. August 2, when a deputy on routine patrol was driving in the 11900 block of Arkansas Street and spotted a vehicle that appeared to have a broken or possibly "shot out" shattered window, sheriff's Lt. Ed Hernandez said.
When the deputy got out of the patrol car, she discovered a trail of blood from the damaged vehicle to the front yard of a home on Arkansas Street, where the victim's body was found, Hernandez said.
"The victim was discovered on the ground and he had been shot twice in the upper torso," the lieutenant said.
Los Angeles County Fire personnel was immediately summoned to the scene, and the victim was pronounced dead a short time later, the lieutenant added.
Hernandez confirmed that the light blue sedan with the shattered windows was registered to the victim, however it was unclear at this point whether he was shot while operating the vehicle.
When asked whether the shooting was possibly gang-related, the lieutenant said, based on the victim's age, it was unlikely that he was a gang member, but added that "based on what appears to have occurred, he may have been caught in the crossfire of rival gang members."
Arkansas Street remained cordoned off several hours after the victim's body was discovered, as sheriff's homicide detectives continued to investigate a portion of the street scattered with ballistic evidence markers on both the roadway and sidewalk.
Hernandez said that some residents in the area told investigators they had heard gunshots a few hours before the victim's body was actually discovered, but so far no one claims to have witnessed the shooting.
"There are no witnesses to the shooting at this point," Hernandez said. "We are actually encouraging anyone in area who may have heard or saw something to call Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau or provide tips through Crime Stoppers, where tips can be made anonymously.
Anyone with more information about the killing was urged to call Los Angeles County sheriff's homicide detectives at (323) 890-5500. Those who prefer to remain anonymous, should call "Crime Stoppers" by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.
Capt. Ladenheim: Lakewood Station Dedicated to Public Safety of Artesia Residents
Though suspect leads were sparse as of late Thursday afternoon, Capt. Merrill Ladenheim of the Lakewood Sheriff's Station (which services the city of Artesia) told Patch that the station was continuing to focus on the safety of Artesia residents.
"We are dedicating a significant amount of resources to this case and right now, I don't believe we have a whole lot to go on," Ladenheim said. "But I can tell you that we are dedicated to public safety in Artesia. Fortunately, murders like this are an anomaly and infrequent in this community but in the meantime we are applying as many resources as we can to solve this case."
Last Homicide in the City of Artesia Was Nearly Four Years Ago
The overnight slaying has left some locals in shock over what they say is relatively safe community with little violence.
"It's just way too close to home," one man said looking toward the crime scene Thursday morning. "This kind of stuff doesn't happen here."
The last homicide to occur in the city of Artesia took place on August 20, 2008, when 17-year-old student, Jonathan Muse of Cerritos, was gunned down while riding his bicycle on Pioneer Boulevard under the Artesia (91) Freeway just after midnight.
According to his mother Mary Ann Nevill, the teenager was at home making hamburgers just before she went to bed around 10 p.m. He then rode his mother's bicycle to a friend's house, carrying a set of hair clippers, and was shot on the way.
The 2008 case still remains under investigation by the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau.