The Pomona home where 8-year-old Jonah Hwang was killed had been targeted in four separate drive-by shootings, including two that occurred after the boy’s death, police said Monday, one day after they announced an arrest in the case.
Sengchan Houl, 35, was taken into custody Sunday on suspicion of killing Jonah Hwang in a drive-by shooting last month, according to the Pomona Police Department.
Houl was stopped on Sunday outside his house in an unincorporated part of Pomona in a vehicle that investigators had identified as the suspect car in the shootings, Pomona Police Chief Paul Capraro said at a Monday afternoon news conference.
The suspect was also in possession of a firearm that is believed to have been used in the shootings, according to the police chief.
Houl doesn’t have an extensive criminal history, and police were working to determine if he has any ties to criminal organizations, Capraro said.
A picture of the suspect was not immediately made public because it needs to be shown to additional witnesses, he said. Capraro added that he expected the photo to be released in the next couple of days.
A motive has not yet been released, though police confirmed the house where Jonah was shot and killed had been the target of three drive-by shootings.
The child was visiting another family’s home for a church dinner in the 1100 block of West 11th Street on Feb. 20 when he was struck in the head by gunfire that came from outside the residence, police said.
He died after being transported to a hospital. No one else was injured.
The Feb. 20 shooting was the second time someone shot at the residence, according to Capraro.
The other targeted shootings occurred on the afternoon of Jan. 27, the evening of March 7 and the morning of March 25, the police chief said.
“Four shootings at one location, I would not call random,” Capraro said. “We do not know what that connection is at this point.”
No one was inside the home at the time of the three of the shootings, which are also under investigation.
While an arrest has been made in the case, Capraro acknowledged the family’s difficult loss as well as the tough road ahead.
“For them, this is going to be a long road, as this case travels through the court process. It’s not going to be easy. We the Police Department, we the community, will all be there for them,” he said.
Jonah was adopted from an orphanage in Taiwan less than three years ago, according to his family.
He was described by his family as having an “infectious smile” and being the “light and joy” of their household. He had a playful demeanor and was a talented soccer player who also loved reading, superheroes and going to church, they said.
“They’re grieving like any family would,” said Adam Donner, the family’s pastor. “They have a great support system and so I really do pray that people are continuing to pray for them.”