On Sep. 23, 2021, and after a three-month investigation by the Long Beach Police Department Homicide Detail, the Special Investigations Division launched a coordinated operation in response to the June 24, 2021 murder of 22-year-old Rafael Araiza and the June 25, 2021 murder of 31-year-old Reginald English. The operation resulted in the following arrests:
- Gustavo Soto, a 21-year-old resident of Long Beach, was arrested during a traffic stop in the 200 block of West C Street in Wilmington. He was booked for one count of murder, one count of kidnapping, and one count of accessory after the fact. He is currently being held on $2,000,000 bail in the Los Angeles County Jail.
- Edilberto Valadez, a 29-year-old resident of Long Beach, was arrested by LBPD SWAT at his residence in the 2200 block of East 15th Street. He was booked for one count of murder and two unrelated misdemeanor warrants. He is currently being held on $2,016,500 bail in the Los Angeles County Jail.
- Ernesto Ramirez, a 30-year-old resident of Downey, was in custody in a Los Angeles County Jail on an unrelated charge. He was transported to the Long Beach City Jail where he was booked on one count of murder. He is currently being held on $2,000,000 bail in the Los Angeles County Jail.
- Eduardo Rodriguez, a 32-year-old resident of Downey, was arrested at his residence in the 13500 block of Deming Avenue in Downey. He was transported to the Long Beach City Jail where he was booked on one count of murder, one count of kidnapping, and one count of accessory after the fact. He is currently being held in the Los Angeles County Jail without bail.
Search warrants were served on Sep. 23, 2021 and continued into the following day. The locations searched included residences at the following locations:
- 1100 block of Alhambra Court
- 2200 block of East 15th Street
- 8500 block of Cole Street in Downey
- 13500 block of Deming Avenue in Downey
- 14100 block of Estate Way in Victorville with the assistance of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department
Items collected during these warrants include the following:
- Four (4) handguns
- Two (2) rifles
- High-capacity magazines
- Body armor
- Methamphetamine, including paraphernalia used to weigh, package, and distribute
The firearms will be examined by the Long Beach Police Department’s Forensic Science Services Division for any possible connection to the crimes being investigated.
Homicide detectives plan to present the facts gathered over the course of their investigations to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office early next week for filing consideration. Detectives believe these murders were gang-related and those taken into custody may be responsible for additional shootings around the same timeframe as the murders.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is urged to contact the Homicide Detail at (562) 570-7244. Anonymous tips may be submitted through “LA Crime Stoppers” by calling 800-222-TIPS (8477), downloading the “P3 Tips” app to your smartphone (available at the Apple app store or Google Play), or by visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.