Two Georgia residents have been arrested in the shooting death of a third Atlanta-area man last week in the Fairfax district, authorities said Tuesday.
The shooting comes amid concern about violent crime near Melrose Avenue, and investigators believe the victim — 24-year-old Nazeer Defares — was killed during a robbery, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release.
The assailants in the Feb. 26 incident threw Defares’ dead body from a moving vehicle on Rosewood Avenue, near the intersection with Gardner Street, according to police.
Bystanders in the area reported finding his wounded body between two vehicles around 6:40 p.m. Defares was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene, officials say.
Witnesses told police they heard two to three gunshots before finding his body on the ground.
The following day, an FBI task force arrested two suspects in the case: 22-year-old Robert Aikens and Shidreyius McClinton, 20. LAPD first announced the arrests Tuesday, and did not provide information on how the FBI became involved.
McClinton is a resident of Atlanta, while the other two men involved live in the suburbs of the Georgia capital — Aikens in Stone Mountain, and Defares in Decatur, LAPD said.
Inmate records showed McClinton remained in custody Tuesday on $2 million bail, though no information could be found for Aikens.
Police say they presented the case to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office, which filed murder charges against the two men. The DA’s office could not immediately confirm the charges.
Police are continuing to investigate the homicide.
Detectives have not commented on whether they think the two men could be tied to other crimes in the area — including a string a violent armed robberies targeting people shopping and dining along Melrose Avenue.
On Feb. 15, police released surveillance video as they sought the public’s help in identifying a pair of men seen attacking a man walking just north of Melrose on Vista Street, tackling him and brandishing a handgun as they stole his Rolex watch and other belongings.
LAPD says that incident came amid an increase in reports of people being robbed at gunpoint along the Melrose corridor. The robbers generally target pedestrians with Rolexes and other high-end jewelry, following them from the area’s eateries and boutiques before striking in a secluded area.
Many of the incidents have occurred in broad daylight.
It also wasn’t far from the Fairfax district where Lady Gaga’s dog walker, Ryan Fischer, was shot as a pair of men, one of them armed, stole the pop star’s French bulldogs last week in Hollywood. The white Nissan Altima used in that incident appears similar to the car used by the assailants in the Vista Street robbery surveillance video.
Police describe the suspects in both the Melrose corridor robberies and the dog-napping as Black men in their 20s.