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Coroner’s Report Details "Gang" Slayings

By Jorge Casuso

March 29 –- Twenty-five medium caliber copper-jacketed bullets killed Hector Bonilla and Jonathan Hernandez late on the night of March 5, according to a report released Monday by the Los Angeles Coroner.

Hernandez, a 19-year-old resident of Ocean Park was shot 17 times -- twice to the head and numerous times to the shoulder, back and upper and lower body -- by gunmen who greeted him at a private birthday party in Sunset Park.

Bonilla, a 25-year-old resident of the Pico Neighborhood, was shot eight times, twice to the head, as he ran to Hernandez’s aid.

The gruesome slayings were likely the work of more than one gun man, coroner officials said.

“With that many bullets, that clearly indicates there’s more than one gun,” said Craig Harvey, chief of operations for the coroner’s office.

“In most magazines, that would be twelve to fifteen rounds to shoot that many bullets, which means more than one handgun was fired,” Harvey said.

The thick coroner’s report details the bloody scene that unfolded around 11 p.m. at the Moose Lodge at 1600 Ocean Park Boulevard.

Hernandez arrived at the party shortly before 11 p.m. and walked towards the bar, where he was met by “four rival gang members” who were already inside, according to the report

They “talked peaceably” and within a few minutes walked away from the bar towards the dining room, “when one of them physically assaulted Mr. Hernandez, causing him to drop down to one knee.”

Bonilla, who was at a nearby table, “ran to his aid,” the report said. The gang members fired twice, causing him to fall to the floor.

A rival gang member then fired four shots at Hernandez, who was on his knee, causing him to collapse, the report said.

After the initial shots fired at Bonilla, “one or more of the rival gang members” fired in the direction of the DJ and his assistant, the report said.

“They may have been gang members firing indiscriminately into the crowd,” Harvey said.

According to the report, “Some gang members then fired several more shots into Mr. Hernandez and Mr. Bonilla when they were on the ground.”

Friends carried Hernandez through the dining room “apparently with the intent to transport him to the hospital,” the report said. They took him as far as the doorway leading to the hallway, when the paramedics arrived.

Hernandez may have been shot when he was dead, said Harvey, but “it is difficult to discern because of the close proximity of the bullets.”

“Mr. Bonilla,” Harvey said, “was pretty much dead when he fell and was not subsequently moved.”

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