Baldwin Park Teen Charged in ‘Firebombing’ Death of 3 People: DA

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Three people were found dead after a fire at a South El Monte tire shop on April 25, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)

A Baldwin Park teenager is eligible for the death penalty after being charged with allegedly firebombing a tire shop, killing three people inside and injuring a firefighter attempting to rescue the victims, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office stated Tuesday.

Roberto Fuentes was arrested Monday after “significant video surveillance” helped investigators identify him, according to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.

Fuentes, 19, was accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a South El Monte tire shop, located in the 1200 block of Santa Anita Boulevard (map), early Saturday morning.

Three people – Rodrigo Gonzalez, 18, Destiny Monique Aguirre, 19, and Christopher Jimenez, 20, – all died in the fiery blaze that followed, according to the DA.

One firefighter suffered a facial burn while attempting to rescue one of the victims, officials said.

“When the firefighters responded, the male was already on fire and they were trying to get the gate open,” said Victor Lewandowskii with the Sheriff’s Department. “By the time that they got the gate open, the male had already started to go the other way, and ran further into the location.”

Fifty-five firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze within an hour, later finding two additional victims inside the badly damaged building.

Fuentes was later arrested, and investigators held the vehicle he was allegedly driving during the incident, a 2002 gold Nissan, for evidence.

Witnesses initially told investigators to look for a white Silverado pick-up truck, but investigators determined the vehicle was not related to the deaths.

On Tuesday, the DA charged Fuentes with three counts of capital murder with the special circumstance of multiple murders, one count of arson causing great bodily injury and one count of use of destructive device and explosive to injure.

The special circumstance made the 19-year-old eligible for the death penalty, according to the DA. It was unclear if prosecutors would seek death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Fuentes was held in lieu of $1 million bail, the Sheriff’s Department stated.

He was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon, where prosecutors were expected to request he be held without bail.

A booking photo was not made available.

Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.