An Oklahoma man has been arrested in the August shooting deaths of a 26-year-old mother and her 4-year-old daughter, who were gunned down as they returned home from the grocery store, Long Beach police announced Monday.
Brandon Ivan Colbert, 22, from Tulsa, was identified as the arrested suspect by Long Beach Police Department Chief Robert Luna.
Carina Mancera, 26, and her daughter, Jennabel Anaya, were shot Aug. 6 near East Ninth Street and Locust Avenue. Mancera, shot multiple times, died at the scene. The little girl was pronounced dead at a hospital early the next morning.
The shooter also fired at 27-year-old Luis Anaya, Mancera’s longtime boyfriend and Jennabel’s father, who was with them at the time. He was not struck.
Colbert was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle on Aug. 27 and never bailed out, Luna said. It's not clear if he left California between Aug. 6 and Aug. 27, but he apparently traveled from Tulsa to Los Angeles on Aug. 4.
DNA evidence from items at the Long Beach crime scene led to a match with Colbert, whose DNA was submitted after his LAPD arrest, according to police.
"When somebody's arrested for a felony crime, they get swabbed," Luna said. "Some people say that may be an invasion of somebody's privacy, but it was the key in arresting this individual for killing this mother and her child."
Colbert was transferred to Long Beach police custody Saturday, inmate records indicate.
The motive for the shooting remains unknown, Luna said. Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that others were involved in the deaths.
The case will be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office Tuesday.
In mid-September, the Long Beach Police Department released surveillance video of a man initially identified as a person of interest in the shooting.
That person, seen at a convenience store near the scene of the killings and later on a Blue Line Metro train, was in early October described by police as a murder suspect. Police said investigators had tracked the person's travels from the crime scene.
A $40,000 reward has been offered in the case. That remains on offer and anyone who saw Colbert is asked to contact police. Police have not ruled out the possibility that others might be involved in the crime.
"It's a big puzzle. We need to put it together," Luna said.