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Man's Body Found in Back of Burning Stolen Truck

September 22, 2006|Andrew Blankstein | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles police are investigating the slaying of a man whose bullet-riddled body was found Thursday in the bed of a stolen pickup truck set on fire in a Studio City neighborhood.

The man, identified as 21-year-old Jose Alfredo Morales of Los Angeles, was shot multiple times in the upper body, said North Hollywood Division Homicide Det. Mike Coffey.

Residents who live near Dilling Street and Farmdale Avenue were awakened around 3 a.m. by voices, a loud pop and the sound of a vehicle speeding away.

Before firefighters arrived, several residents used garden hoses to try to extinguish flames as high as 15 feet engulfing the small black truck. The truck had been reported stolen Wednesday in Glendale.

Coffey said investigators believe the killing could be gang-related. Morales had distinctive tattoos, he said.

Police recovered a gas can and gloves several blocks from the crime scene, near Tujunga and Ventura boulevards.

The neighborhood of upscale homes and large shade trees is blocks from where the wife of actor Robert Blake was shot to death in 2001. Blake, who was acquitted in the case, once lived in the neighborhood.

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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