Pomona Police Make Arrest in ‘Random’ Killing of Youth Pastor

Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times, September 10, 2015

A Pomona youth pastor who was shot to death in a car almost two years ago may have been targeted because he was Latino, a Pomona police homicide detective said Thursday.

Daniel Diaz, 33, was killed before 1 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2013, as he and a friend dropped off one of three boys they’d taken to the movies to celebrate Diaz’s birthday and one of the teens’ graduation from a youth program.

Diaz was in the front passenger seat of a car when it stopped at Park and Mayfair avenues in Pomona to look up directions for the next house. In that moment, police said, Arvin Benson, 27, walked up to the car, pulled out a gun and shot Diaz four times. No one else in the car was struck.

The killing came amid one of the most violent years in Pomona’s history–there were 29 homicides in 2013–and police said many were the result of a rivalry between black and Latino gangs.

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Diaz’s shooting was completely “random,” Pomona Lt. Hector Rodriguez said.

“The suspect in this case is black and the victim, Hispanic,” Rodriguez said. “He saw this vehicle pulled up, saw a clear opportunity and took it.”

Benson was arrested last week and charged with murder. His arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 29. He’s being held in lieu of $2-million bail.

Though the case remained unsolved for nearly two years, police said time can wear on witnesses who at first were hesitant to talk.

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