A suspected burglar accused of fatally hitting a pedestrian and his dog after running a red light during a police pursuit in Long Beach has been arrested, as have six other men who were allegedly involved in the burglary, police said Wednesday.
The deadly incident unfolded after a commercial burglary was reported at a cannabis dispensary around 11:10 p.m. Tuesday in the 2100 block of West Gaylord Street, according to a Long Beach Police Department news release. Police were advised that multiple suspects were inside the shop cutting down marijuana plants.
When officers responded, they detained three men outside the business, but another man fled and drove away in a 2016 Mercedes Benz GLE, the release stated. Police followed and initiated a pursuit.
During the five-minute-long chase, the car sped through a red light at Sixth Street and Magnolia Avenue, fatally hitting a 32-year-old man who was walking his dog and had the right of way, police said. The driver continued on without stopping.
A short time later, the Merceds slammed into a fence in the area of Sixth Street and Pine Avenue, and the suspect was taken into custody.
The pedestrian, 32-year-old Jose Hernandez of Long Beach, died at the scene. His dog was also killed in the crash.
Christine Howard, who lives in the area, said the initial crash was so loud it woke her up.
Howard told KTLA she looked out her window and saw a shoe in the middle of the street. She could hear someone saying, “They hit him. They hit him.”
Hours later, Howard was stirred from sleep again when she heard people crying outside and realized the person had likely been killed.
“So that made me cry too,” Howard said.
The driver, identified as 26-year-old Jyvante West of Richmond, was believed to have been under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident, according to investigators.
West was booked on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run resulting in death, driving under the influence of drugs causing injury, evading police, commercial burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime. His bail was set at $100,000.
Meanwhile, officers at the scene of the burglary found three other men inside the business and apprehended them, bringing the total number of arrests in the case to seven.
The other six suspected burglars were also from the Bay Area. They have been identified as: Rohnell Robinson, 34, of Richmond; Samuel Young, 34, of Vallejo; Michael Bracy, 26, of Hercules; Alfred Stevens, 23, of Pittsburg; Deantee James, 38, of Richmond; and Jamel Brown, 36, of Vallejo.
They were each booked on suspicion of burglary and held on $10,000 bail.
Detectives said they are investigating whether the men were possibly connected to other crimes against marijuana-related businesses in the area.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call detectives Kelsey Myers or Shawn Loughlin at 562-570-7355. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Stoppers by calling 800-222-8477, on the “P3 Tips” smartphone app or by visiting www.crimestoppers.org.