A woman was in jail today after she allegedly shot another woman about a block from the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Division, a Skid Row station so close that a cop who happened to be out front nabbed the suspect as witnesses chased her down, police say.
Michelle Cato, 27, was arrested on suspicion of murder and locked up in lieu of $1 million bail, according to the Los County Sheriff's Department. The shooting was reported about 3:35 p.m. Monday at 523 S. San Julian St., said Lt. Paul Vernon of the Central
Division. The victim has been identified as 46-year-old Shelia Zaldana.
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Witnesses, which apparently numbered in the dozens, included Zaldana's 23-year-old son. They chased the suspect south on San Julian Street, then west on Sixth Street toward LAPD's Central Station around the corner. A motorcycle officer took the suspect into custody.
"This appears to be a cold-blooded shooting,'' Vernon said. "The suspect shot this woman in full view of the victim's 23-year-old son and dozens of bystanders.''
San Julian has long been known for its drug traffic. In the early '00s and in times previous to that it was virtually an open-air drug bazaar. As loft-dwelling professionals began moving into the area and reports about the street painted a grim picture for city officials, police began a heavy crackdown. Today police say there is nary a street in Los Angeles with more patrols or more security cameras.
Police said the suspect dropped a gun, which was recovered. The motive for the attack was unknown. Anyone with information was asked to call detectives at 213-972-1254.