By OPEC Staff

A three-month effort by a Fugitive Apprehension Team special agent resulted in the arrest last week in Tijuana, Mexico, of two parolees-at-large sought in the fatal shooting of a Los Angeles church deacon.

According to news reports, a parishioner of a Westlake District church interrupted a woman spray-painting graffiti on the side of the church the evening of Nov. 4. When he asked the woman to stop, she knocked the man to the ground.

As two other parishioners of Iglesia Principe de Paz rushed outside to help, a man stepped out of a nearby car and opened fire, killing Andres Ordonez and wounding the other arriving parishioner.

The 25-year-old Ordonez, a deacon of the church, was the father of a 1-year-old son, and his widow, the granddaughter of the church’s pastor, was pregnant with the couple’s second child.

“This was a senseless murder that shocked the community and impacted everyone involved in this investigation,” said Senior Special Agent Robert Maldonado.

The tagger was identified as parolee Ivy Navarrete, and the shooter was identified as parolee Pedro Martinez.

The case was given to FAT Special Agent Avakemian. During his exhaustive investigation, Special Agent Avakemian was able to confirm that Martinez and Navarrete had crossed the border into Mexico a few days after the shooting.

“When I heard about this crime and found that an innocent member of the community was murdered, I took a personal interest in this case,” Avakemian said.  “The victim was a young father and his wife was pregnant with their second child.  Being myself a father of two small children, I knew the family was going through difficult times, and I knew it was my duty to locate the suspects as soon as possible.

“As fugitive investigators and public servants, we are entrusted by the community to apprehend those suspected of heinous crimes.  But as parents and members of the communities we serve, we are internally impacted as human beings by those same crimes.  It is these things that drive me as a fugitive investigator,” Avakemian said. 

For three months the fugitives were able to stay as step ahead of the investigation, but a last week, Avakemian’s efforts paid off. He obtained the location of the two in Tijuana.

Through a collaborative effort with the U.S. Marshal’s Service, CDCR was able to enlist the Mexican authorities to arrest Martinez and Navarrete. Four and a half hours later, the two were deported at the border into the custody of Special Agent Avakemian, Parole Agent II Tim Ohno and Senior Special Agent Maldonado.

“Special Agent Danny Avakemian is known for his attention to detail and meticulous fugitive investigations,” Maldonado said. “Although Danny quickly identified the fugitives had fled to Mexico, with Danny on the case I knew it was just a matter of time before the fugitives were located and brought to justice.

“I am extremely proud of Danny’s success with the apprehension of these violent fugitives,” Maldonado said, “and I commend him for once again bringing to justice a pair of fugitives who presented a great risk to public safety.

The two were taken to the Rampart Station of the Los Angeles Police Department where they were booked.

“Agent Avakemian’s tenacity and persistence in following leads that eventually resulted in the arrest of these dangerous individuals exemplifies the mission the Office of Correctional Safety has of protecting public safety. We are very proud of his accomplishments,” said OCS Chief Tony Chaus.