The San Bernardino Police Department is hoping that improving community relations will encourage residents to assist investigators’ efforts to solve a series of shootings and homicides in west side of San Bernardino that began in August 2019.

During a press conference held on Tuesday, Feb. 11, San Bernardino Chief of Police Eric McBride asked that anyone in the public with information about the four shooting incidents, resulting in five deaths, contact investigators.

According to McBride, the proximity of the crimes as well as other evidence not yet divulged leads investigators to believe the crimes are related.

Due to the location, west of the Interstate 215, and nature of the crimes, investigators believe they could be gang-related.

According to Sgt. Al Tello, handguns and rifles were used in the shootings.

“Sometimes homicides occur because of people’s lifestyle choices, however, it appears some of these are not because of lifestyle choices,” McBride said. “They just happen to be victims of circumstance.”

Several of the victims had no criminal background or apparent connection to the suspects.

“Our purpose is to get solvability to 100 percent,” McBride said. “When we can show that we’re being far more effective as a police department and that we’re out there making arrests for those cases then maybe suspects will realize San Bernardino is not the city to come to to commit crime.”

According to McBride, the department’s homicide clearance rate, the naming or arrest of a homicide suspect, has risen from 46 percent to 78 percent in the last six months. McBride credits this to the department’s renewed commitment to community policing and building positive relationships with the community. This has developed greater trust of the department by the community, causing the community to be more comfortable coming forward with information.

In the past six months, the department reorganized to incorporate district commands and police officers have attended more than 300 community meetings in an effort to foster better relationships.

“We appeal to the public to do what they have been doing in the last six months, helping us with information to solve these crimes. I think that will go a long way to supplying closure and justice for the victims of these crimes and their families,” said McBride.

The homicides

• The first occurred at about 2:01 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, when San Bernardino teacher Nancy Magana, 25, was shot and killed while sitting in her car with her boyfriend and 5-year-old son at a park at 30th Street and Flores Street. Magana’s boyfriend and son were injured but survived.

The police department has released security video footage that shows a light-colored car entering and exiting the parking lot before and after the time of the shooting. According to witnesses, the car, with three to four suspects inside, pulled up to Magana’s vehicle and two black males exited the car and one shot into Magana’s driver’s side window.

• At about 6:44 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14, a red Toyota Camry driven by Detrell Page of Colton was on Cajon Boulevard when four black male suspects in a silver Hyundai shot into Page’s back window.

Page was struck in the back of the head, which caused him to loose control of the vehicle and crash head on into another vehicle. Page’s two-year-old daughter, Dekorro, was in the backseat and suffered fatal trauma during the accident. Detrell remains in critical condition.

Police released security footage of what is believed, based on witness statement, to be the suspect vehicle fleeing the scene northbound on Gardena Street near Hancock Street.

Police also have security video of the head-on collision.

• At about 6:01 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 19, two victims were shot during an exchange of gunfire at Meridian Avenue and Spruce Street. Lemon Hamilton, 24, died of his wounds after being transported at the hospital while Jesus Valencia, 20, was released after being treated at the hospital.

When officers first responded to the scene Hamilton was found in the middle of the street. He was transported to the hospital where he died.

Later, Colton Police Department advised San Bernardino police that Valencia was at the hospital with a gunshot wound. Valencia claimed he was shot near Base Line but evidence and witness statements suggest Valencia was at the scene where Hamilton was shot.

• At about 3:13 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21, San Bernardino police officers found two shooting victims, Israel Delatorre, 24, and Daniel Melandrez, 33, in the 1400 block of N. Grand Ave. Delatorre and Melandrez both died at the scene.

According to video surveillance, two vehicles dropped off several black male suspects near the scene of the shooting.

The suspects then concealed themselves and waited to ambush and kill the victims.

To view the videos released by police visit highlandnews.net.

Anyone with information about any of these crimes is urged to contact Sgt. Al Tello by emailing tello_al@abcity.org or by calling (909) 384-5613. Information can be provided anonymously through the We-Tip hotline by calling (800) 78-CRIME (27463) or online at wetip.com.

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