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Gunman Not Related to Victim, Police Say

January 22, 2003|Daniel Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

Authorities on Tuesday identified Daniel Moreno, 24, as the man who shot and killed a 2-year-old boy as he sat with his mother and two brothers the day before in a Burger King in Pomona.

Police later shot and killed Moreno, of Rialto, less than a block away from the restaurant after he threatened officers with his gun and yelled, "Just shoot me!" witnesses and police said.

Authorities also said Tuesday they had released three men who were thought to be suspects in the restaurant shooting. They were bystanders who fled the restaurant for fear of their own lives, a Sheriff's Department spokeswoman said.

According to police and witnesses, Moreno was eating lunch at the Burger King when he stood and shot 2-year-old Osvaldo Martinez shortly after 1 p.m. Police said Moreno was not an acquaintance or relative of the child's family.

The dead boy's parents, Yessenia Rochin and Servando Martinez, wept Tuesday as they described their son.

"He was a very happy child, very loving," Rochin, 25, told the Associated Press. "He loved to jump. He was everything for me, that child, and they killed him. They killed my boy."

A brother of Moreno, David Moreno, confirmed some elements of a TV news report that quoted Moreno's father as saying he was having drug and psychiatric problems -- depressed because of another sibling's run-in with police. David Moreno declined to confirm a portion of the KTLA report that said his brother also was depressed because he recently had broken up with the mother of his son.

On Tuesday, the Holt Avenue Burger King remained closed, and candles with pictures of saints and red chrysanthemums were placed at the sidewalk in an impromptu memorial.

A fund has been established at Washington Mutual Bank to help pay for burial costs and counseling. The account number for the Martinez Fund is 4891544970. The bank's Pomona branch is at (909) 623-2491.

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