Teacher may have been first victim of 'serial killer' gang, police say

Alex Woodward
San Bernadino Police Department

Police in California believe five deadly shootings over the last several months on the west side of San Bernadino are "all connected in one way or another" and suspect a gang of men have committed a series of murders by firing at people inside their cars.

San Bernadino's Interim Police Chief Eric McBright said the unsolved killings, including the death of a two-year-old in a car crash after a car was fired upon, involve both "random" victims and people who "possibly" knew their killers. All of the victims were shot while sitting in their cars or trying to get away from them. No arrests have been made.

On 17 August, middle school teacher Nancy Megana was sitting in her pickup truck with her boyfriend and five-year-old son when a light-coloured sedan with three or four people inside approached the car. Two people got out, fired into the driver's side window of the truck, then fled the scene.

Ms Megana died at a nearby hospital.

On 14 September 2019, police responded to a report of a head-on traffic collision and arrived within minutes of the accident to find a red Toyota Camry with its rear windows shot out, which police believe sent the car crashing into a guardrail. A two-year-old girl was found in the back seat.

Surveillance video shows the suspected vehicle, a silver sedan, speeding away from the scene.

Twenty-one-year-old Detrell Page was discovered in the driver's seat with a gunshot wound. He survived the shooting in critical condition. His daughter, Dekorro, did not survive the crash.

On 19 January, 24-year-old Lemon Hamilton was discovered by police lying in the street after being shot. He died in hospital.

A second victim, 20-year-old Jesus Valencia, was also treated for a gunshot wound at the hospital. Police believe he was also at the scene.

Police discovered two more gunshot victims on 21 January. Twenty-four-year-old Israel De La Torre was found lying in the driver's side of his truck, and 33-year-old Daniel Melendrez also was found near the scene. Police linked their murders to the streak of shootings.

Surveillance video shows two cars dropping off several men near the scene, where they "ambushed" the victims, Chief McBright said.

At a press conference announcing the connected shootings, Chief McBright said: "There are people out there that saw these homicides, saw these shootings, that saw what happened, and we need those folks to come forward."

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