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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Police Name Suspect in Store Slaying

Crime: A warrant is issued for a 25-year-old Ventura man in the shooting death of a clerk during an attempted robbery on April 6.

April 18, 2001|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT and ANNA GORMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

One of two suspects in the fatal shooting of a Ventura grocery store clerk has been identified and a warrant issued for his arrest on suspicion of murder, authorities said Tuesday.

Alfonso Acosta Delgado Jr., 25, of Ventura is being sought in the death of Alejandro Alvarez, a 35-year-old father of two who was gunned down April 6 at Central Market on Ventura Avenue, authorities said.

The second suspect, whom authorities declined to identify, was arrested a day after the killing at a Ventura hotel on unrelated narcotics charges, authorities said. That suspect has not been charged in connection with the murder.

"The district attorney's office is reviewing the case against [the second suspect] in the Alvarez murder," according to a prepared statement from Ventura Police Lt. Quinn Fenwick.

Delgado, the married father of a 7-year-old girl, probably is armed and dangerous, Fenwick said. Delgado's mother-in-law, Armida Hernandez, said the family had not seen him in more than six months.

"I don't want to know anything," Hernandez said when contacted at her Ventura home. "I can't imagine he could do that."

Court records indicate that Delgado was arrested on suspicion of robbery in October 1997 but acquitted of the charge at trial. Letters in the case file indicate that he held a steady job for several years but struggled with drug problems.

According to detectives working on the homicide, two masked gunmen entered the market the afternoon of April 6, confronted Alvarez and two co-owners near the register and demanded money.

Before the victims had a chance to comply, both gunmen opened fire, killing Alvarez and injuring Mohan Singh, 42, and his brother, Balbir Singh, 44, both of Ventura.

The robbers fled without taking any money and were last seen leaving the market in a gray or silver-colored coupe or sedan, witnesses told police.

Mohan Singh suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and spent three days in the hospital. His brother was treated for minor gunshot wounds and released the day of the incident.

Authorities declined to comment on whether they have recovered the getaway car, but court records detailing warrants in the case indicate they searched two cars, a house in Ojai and a Ventura hotel room.

*

Times staff writer Tracy Wilson contributed to this story.

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