Timeline: February 4, 1983

Chronological events from the night of Wanda Lopez’s murder.

Date

Event

07:00- 07:30 Carlos DeLuna (CDL) leaves home with his stepfather and arrives at work at Triarch Corp.
11:30- 15:00 After early release from work due to rain, goes to supermarket with a co-worker to cash paychecks; buys beer; arrives at his mother’s house around 15:00.
13:30 Calls parole officer to say he is working late and probably cannot report in as scheduled before 17:00.
15:00- 16:30 Goes with a neighbor on unsuccessful search for someone to fix a watch; eats at What-A-Burger; returns home, takes a shower, and puts on a white long-sleeved, button-down dress shirt and black polyester slacks.
17:00- 22:00 Mary Ann Perales attends her baby shower at her mother’s home (according to later testimony in court).
18:00- 19:00 CDL goes grocery shopping with mother and step- father.
19:00- 20:00 Gets a ride from step-father and mother to Gulf Skating Rink, where (according to his testimony) he encounters Linda and Mary Ann Perales and Carlos Hernandez; he and Hernandez ask the Perales sisters to drop them off at a nearby store where he and Hernandez buy soft drinks.
20:00 Calls mother from store and asks for ride home. Step- father says he is too drunk to drive and mother, who doesn’t like to drive at night, tells DeLuna to take a taxi home. DeLuna and Hernandez (according to DeLuna’s testimony) walk to Wolfy’s. DeLuna enters, buys a beer, and waits for Hernandez, who said he was going across the street to the Sigmor-Shamrock station to buy cigarettes.
20:00 While pumping gas at the Shamrock, George Aguirre watches a Hispanic male, 5’7” to 5’9”, who is drinking beer on the side of the station, pull out a knife, open it and stick it back into his pants pocket. When the man approaches Aguirre and asks for a ride to Casino Club, Aguirre declines, goes into the gas station to pay, and warns the clerk, Wanda Lopez, about a man outside with a knife.
20:05 Wanda Lopez calls 911 operator to report a man outside her store with a knife. Operator tells Lopez to call back if the man comes in the store.
20:09- 20:11 Backing-up the 911 operator, who does not answer Wanda Lopez’s second 911 call after several rings, Dispatcher Jesse Escochea speaks to Lopez, who reports a man with a knife inside the Shamrock store. Escochea asks Lopez for additional information for 77 seconds until she screams and Escochea dispatches Officer Thomas Mylett (who doesn’t answer), then Officer Steven Fowler, to go to the gas station.
20:10- 20:55 CDL leaves Wolfy’s after ten minutes (according to his testimony) to look for Hernandez who did not return from the Shamrock station. Sees Hernandez struggling with a woman inside the gas station store, hears police sirens, fears that his parole status makes him suspect, and walks fast, then runs away. He hides from police cars patrolling a nearby residential neighborhood, eventually shedding his shirt. Hears people yelling and dives under a pickup truck where he is found and arrested by police.
20:10- 20:15 While pumping gas at the Shamrock station, Kevin Baker hears a bang on the store window and sees the store clerk wrestling with a man who throws her down and runs out. The man threatens Baker and runs away. Police arrive a few minutes later while Baker is tending to the wounded and bloody store clerk, Baker describes the assailant as a 5’7” to 5’9” mustachioed Hispanic man who looked like a “derelict” and wore a flannel jacket with red in it and a gray sweatshirt. Baker says the man sprinted north “behind” the Shamrock station.
20:10 and 20:13 Police officers arrive at the Shamrock, call an ambulance, and, through Officer Bruno Mejia, issue a BOLO (“be on the look-out”) for a “Hispanic male, about 5 foot 9, wearing a flannel shirt and a gray sweatshirt” who was “northbound on foot, to the rear” of the Sigmor Shamrock.
20:13- 20:32 Officer Mejia issues nine BOLOs with the same or similar information.
20:14- 20:22 Officers in first of approximately twenty patrol cars from various law enforcement agencies that took part in the manhunt, including Constables Ruben Rivera and Carolyn Vargas and Officer Mark Schauer, are told that the assailant fled west and north behind the gas station along Dodd Street, and join the search there, on foot, receiving reports from neighborhood residents of a man running through the yards along Dodd Street to its intersection with McArdle.
20:15 Pete Gonzalez, Shamrock area manager, receives call from security service that someone at the Sigmor- Shamrock pushed a panic button near the cash drawer, triggering a silent alarm.
20:15- 20:20 Detective Olivia Escobedo, Lieutenant Eddie McConley (one of two commanding offers), and ID Technician Joel Infante arrive at the gas station but are unable to enter the store because the victim has collapsed in the doorway and is being worked on by emergency personnel.
20:16 Ambulance arrives at the gas station.
20:16- 20:22 John and Julie Arsuaga tell Officer Mejia about a man they saw jogging past the Phase III Club two blocks east of the gas station wearing a long-sleeved button down dress shirt and black slacks. Mejia issues a BOLO including portions of the Arsuagas’ description, noting that it may be “another suspect,” different from the man Baker saw. Then Mejia reverts to the original BOLO based on information from Baker: suspect in flannel shirt and gray sweatshirt fleeing north.
20:23- 20:43 Police track a suspect north on Dodd Street to McArdle Street and east along McArdle past ball fields, a middle school, and a nursing home to a Domino’s Pizza at the corner of McArdle and Kostoryz. Across McArdle from Domino’s is a Circle K, where Officer Fowler reports having stopped a suspicious man earlier that evening wearing a moustache and clothing similar to those described by Baker. Officers appear to be closing in on the suspect during a frantic search, with multiple reports of a man running, between the nursing home and the Domino’s two doors away.
20:40 Ambulance leaves for the hospital. Detective Escobedo and Identification Technician Infante enter the store to begin their investigation.
20:43 Esther Barrera calls 911 and is connected to Dispatcher Escochea who broadcasts her call over the radio to police officers engaged in the manhunt. Barrera reports a man hiding under her pick-up truck at Easter and Nemec Streets, a few blocks from the Sigmor Shamrock station, behind the Phase III Club, and fourteen blocks west of where officers are searching near Domino’s. Patrol cars leave the Domino’s area and flood the area near Barrera’s home.
~20:47 Neighborhood residents tell Constables Rivera and Vargas that there is a man under another pick-up truck on Franklins Street near Nemec, a block away from Barrera’s house.
20:49 CDL is pulled from under a pick-up truck by Constable Rivera, with help from Officers Schauer and Mylett. DeLuna is shirtless and shoeless, smells of beer, and has $149 “rolled” up in his pocket. Mylett recognizes DeLuna as the man he recently arrested at the Casino Club for “drunken disorderly.”
20:49- 21:05 Detective Escobedo (inside the gas station store), officers outside the store, Kevan Baker and the other witnesses, and several dozen bystanders hear over police radios that a man was apprehended while hiding underneath a vehicle nearby and a (false) rumor circulates that blood was found on his shirt.
21:05 As Officer Schauer transports CDL to the gas station, DeLuna tells the officer that he didn’t commit the crime but knows who did, and says he will help the police if they help him.
21:00- 21:10 Lieutenant McConley asks Kevan Baker, George Aguirre and John and Julie Arsuaga to view the suspect and attempt to identify him. All refuse out of fear, but McConley convinces Baker and Aguirre, while surrounded by police officers, to approach the shirtless, handcuffed suspect in the back seat of Shauer’s squad car.
21:05- 21:10 CDL is identified by Baker as the man he saw wrestling with the store clerk and running out of the gas station store, and by Aguirre as the man he had earlier seen with a knife outside the gas station store.
~21:20 CDL is booked for assault and robbery of Wanda Lopez.
~21:50 – 06:00 Detective Escobedo and technician Infante wrap up their investigation of the crime scene and turn the gas station back over to store manager Robert Stange, who washes it down overnight, takes an inventory, and opens the store on time at 6 a.m. the next morning.
21:52 Wanda Lopez is pronounced dead.
~22:30 John and Julie Arsuaga are shown an array of photographs and pick out Carlos DeLuna as the man they saw jogging near the Phase III that night. [Go to Timeline of Events, 1951-1999]