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Suspect arrested in man's '93 death

Rogelio G. Pereira had been a fugitive since a crash that claimed the life of photographer Douglas Burrows in L.A., police say.

June 22, 2007|From the Associated Press

The 14-year hunt for the man suspected in the death of a Los Angeles-based freelance photographer ended this week with the arrest of a convicted drug dealer in a Mexico border town.

Police have long suspected that Rogelio G. Pereira, an American citizen, was driving an 18-wheeler when it crashed into a Toyota Celica driven by Douglas Burrows, 29, who was killed in the May 1993 accident on a side street in downtown Los Angeles.

Police said Pereira, now 55, fled the crash scene on foot and remained a fugitive until Tuesday.

Mexican police arrested Pereira without incident in Mexicali, Mexico, acting Chief Tony Burke of the U.S. Marshals Service in Los Angeles said Thursday.

Pereira was turned over to Mexican immigration officials, then to U.S. marshals at a border crossing Wednesday morning. He was booked later that day by Los Angeles police for investigation of aggravated vehicular homicide, Burke said.

The Los Angeles Police Department named Pereira the main suspect the day of the accident but had been unable to track him down despite wanted posters and an agreement from him to surrender.

John Burrows, the victim's father, never gave up. He lobbied authorities to reignite the investigation and hired a private investigator who said he found the suspect living openly in the border town of Brawley, Calif., according to a 1999 Los Angeles Times report.

Douglas Burrows had a successful career capturing images of wars, street gangs, fires and the Los Angeles riots that were published in The Times and Newsweek. He had been set to move into his first home the day after he was killed.

Los Angeles Police Lt. Ruben Delatorre recalled a night shortly before the photographer's death when Burrows accompanied him on patrol for an assignment. "When I found out about the accident, I was shocked, and I remember when they started looking for the suspect," Delatorre said. "It's always been in the back of my mind since then."

Two years ago, marshals joined the LAPD in tracking Pereira in Mexico and gathering paperwork that would prove he was a U.S. citizen who could be transported across the border without the snarl of government red tape.

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