Four people were behind bars today in connection with the weekend shooting deaths of two women and two men outside an unlicensed boarding home in Northridge.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said the arrests occurred at the Silverton hotel and casino in Las Vegas, but he declined to provide any specifics about what led detectives to the suspects or the motive for the killings. The arrests were made around 2 p.m. Monday, according to the LAPD.
The department's Robbery/Homicide Division, "through some brilliant detective work, which I'm not going to go into, tracked our suspects to Las Vegas, and with the assistance of Las Vegas P.D., the FBI and Henderson Police Department tracked the suspects to the Silverton hotel, where they were arrested without incident," Beck said.
Ka Pasasouk, 31, of Los Angeles, was arrested on suspicion of murder. Also arrested were Howard Alcantara, 30, of Glendale; Donna Rabulan, 30, of Los Angeles; and Christina Neal, 31, of Los Angeles. Alcantara, Rabulan and Neal were all booked on suspicion of aiding a felon. Alcantara was also booked on suspicion of robbery.
According to the LAPD, the suspects had been visiting friends at the boarding home when they were confronted and fatally shot.
"This is a case that has gotten much public interest, not only locally but nationally," Beck said. "The prosecution of this case, the successful prosecution of this case is very important to the city of Los Angeles. Because of that, I'm not going to give any further details relating to the motive, relating to the suspects' particulars or the victims at this time."
Beck said the suspects were awaiting extradition from Nevada, and that process was expected to take "a couple of days."
Police were sent to the two-story home in the 17400 block of Devonshire Street about 4:30 a.m. Sunday and found the victims outside the house.
Neighbors had reported hearing screaming and gunshots, police said.
The dead women appeared to be in their 20s, one man was in his 30s and the other was in his 40s, according to LAPD Officer Cleon Joseph. The coroner's office was continuing to withhold their names, citing a security hold placed on the case by the LAPD.
A woman named Rolina Calabia said one of the victims was her brother, Robert Calabia of Eagle Rock.
"I can't believe my brother is not here anymore," Rolina Calabia told ABC7. "He was always there for me. Why my brother?"
The station identified another victim as Amanda Ghossein, who has a year-old daughter and would have turned 25 today.
"People need to know that she's a mom, a loving daughter, a sister, a cousin, a niece," Ghossein's aunt, Ilina Leff, told the station.
Police said there were eight or nine people inside the dwelling at the time of the shooting. No weapon was recovered, police said.
The owner of the boarding house told various media outlets that none of the victims lived at the home, nor did they have any connection with anyone who lived there. He also denied that he was running a boarding house.
City Councilman Mitchell Englander said that despite the arrests, investigators have not closed the case.
"It's still an open investigation and they're still gathering additional information," he said.
The councilman said the fact "that they've already made an arrest in another state shows the cooperative measures they've made and the strides with the community as well."
Englander said the property where the shootings occurred was an unlicensed boarding home but had not been a problem location for police.
He said about a dozen people were believed to have been living in the home in conditions he described as "deplorable." Mattresses and makeshift kitchens were scattered about the house, he told The Times, and one room was accessible only by a window.
An unnamed source told The Times three of the victims -- a man and two women -- were shot on a walkway on the side of the home. All were wearing hooded sweatshirts and all had at least one bullet wound to the head. Two of them were found face-down, while one of the women was found crumpled with her face in her hands, "almost like she was praying," the source told The Times, which reported the shooting may have been the result of some type of personal dispute.
The fourth victim, a man, appeared to have been shot while running toward the backyard of the home, The Times reported.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa praised the LAPD for making arrests quickly.
"As you know, violent crime in the city of Los Angeles is at its lowest level in decades," he said. "It's at the lowest level we've seen since the 1950s, and it's because of the good work of the men and women in uniform that we can boast of those numbers. And sadly, tragically, not every day is free of violence. Last Sunday in the early morning hours, four individuals lost their lives tragically during a homicide in Northridge. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families."