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Pair arrested in robberies also suspected in slaying of MTV music coordinator, police say

May 12, 2011|By Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton | Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
  • 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 of three suspects arrested this week in connection with a string of recent armed robberies are believed to be responsible for the execution-style slaying of an MTV music coordinator in a Mid-Wilshire neighborhood over the weekend, Los Angeles police said Thursday.

Jabaar Vincent Thomas, 26, and Destiny Young, 29, both of Los Angeles, were arrested in connection with the shot-gun slaying Gabriel Aron Ben-Meir, 30, police said. Richard Edward Anderson, 33, a resident of the San Fernando Valley, was also arrested on suspicion robbery.

Police said they were able to link Thomas and Young to the slaying of Ben-Meir through witness statements and other evidence, which they did not disclose.

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

Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Matt Blake said the two suspects and possibly other accomplices are thought to have struck at least nine times in the last two weeks, robbing people on the street and in businesses.

Anderson and Young were arrested separately Wednesday afternoon, and Thomas was arrested Wednesday night.

No weapons were recovered during the arrests. 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 also 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.

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