2 seized in Los Angeles in carjack-slayings

March 31, 1994|By Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES -- Less than a week after the slayings of two Marymount College students during a carjacking, Los Angeles police announced that two men were arrested in the case.

Taken into custody yesterday in the slayings -- which this week sparked international outrage and Japanese calls for gun control in the United States -- were Raymond Oscar Butler, 18, of the Los Angeles port district of San Pedro, and Alberto V. Reygoza, 20, of Long Beach.

The two had been under round-the-clock surveillance since Monday, when physical evidence was discovered tying them to the deaths, said Cmdr. David Gascon of the Los Angeles Police Department. It was unclear what that evidence was, however, and police released few details about the arrests.

Takuma Ito, a Japanese citizen, and Go Matsuura, a U.S. citizen who grew up in Japan, were shot to death about 11 o'clock last Friday night in a carjacking in the parking lot of a Ralph's supermarket in San Pedro.

Commander Gascon said the victims had been attacked "almost immediately upon arriving" at the store, when they "were approached by a male Hispanic who at gunpoint proceeded to commit a robbery."

During the course of the holdup, Commander Gascon said, the two men were shot in the back of the head, and Ito's white 1994 Honda Civic was stolen by the attackers.

Commander Gascon said the case was quickly assigned to the Major Crimes Investigation Section of LAPD's Robbery-Homicide Division, and by the following day the abandoned car was recovered "in an out-of-the-way location" not far from the scene of the crime. Police said they dusted the car -- whose stereo was missing -- for fingerprints.

Officers staked out the vehicle for the next 24 hours, he said, but it was impounded when no one showed up. By that time, the two victims -- who earlier had been declared brain-dead -- had been taken off life-support at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Although the slayings were only two of 25 homicides last weekend in Los Angeles County, they received wide coverage in Japan and sparked immediate diplomatic reaction. Although carjackings occur in this county at the rate of about 300 a month, the deaths were shocking in Japan, where gun control is taken very seriously, and reinforced a perception there that the United States is violent and dangerous.

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