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2 robbery suspects may be linked to killing of MTV music coordinator

Police say two suspects in custody in a string of shotgun robberies in Mid-City, Wilshire and the Southeast L.A. areas could be involved in the shooting Sunday of Gabriel Ben-Meir and the slaying of another man in Pico Union.

May 12, 2011|By Ching-Ching Ni and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
  • A Los Angeles police detective walks near the home where 30-year-old Gabriel Aron Ben-Meir, a MTV music and production coordinator, was found dead May 8, 2011. A shrine made up of flowers, a candle and note lie near the site where Ben-Meir's body was found.
A Los Angeles police detective walks near the home where 30-year-old Gabriel… (Fred Prouser / Reuters )

Two suspects are in custody in a string of recent armed robberies, and Los Angeles police are looking into whether the men are linked to the execution-style slaying of a young MTV music coordinator in a Mid-Wilshire neighborhood early Sunday.

Authorities said the robberies in the Mid-City, Wilshire and Southwest L.A. areas involved the use of a shotgun, the same type of weapon believed to have been used in the death of Gabriel Aron Ben-Meir, 30.

Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Matt Blake said the two suspects and possible other accomplices have struck at least nine times in the last two weeks, robbing people on the street and in businesses. The suspects, who have not been identified, were arrested separately Wednesday.

No weapons were recovered during the arrest.

Sources familiar with the investigation said the nature of Ben-Meir's death has led homicide detectives to conclude that at least one of the robbers could be responsible for a slaying April 30 in the Pico-Union area.

In that robbery, Marcelo Aragon, 35, was shot several times with a shotgun as he walked through a residential area in the 2700 block of West 12th Street about 3:45 a.m.

Because many of the attacks happened in the early morning hours, no witnesses have been found, sources say.

Detectives believe Ben-Meir was shot after 1 a.m. Sunday. His body wasn't found until 6:30 a.m.

The killing of Ben-Meir stunned family members, co-workers at the music network and residents in his quiet Mid-Wilshire neighborhood. Ben-Meir's sister described him as a warm and generous man who was devoted to his career.

Ben-Meir had parked his BMW on the street and was a few steps from his front door when he was shot on Packard Street between Stanley and Spaulding avenues. Police have not said whether he was robbed.

ching-ching.ni@latimes.com

richard.winton@latimes.com

Times staff writer Andrew Blankstein contributed to this report.

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