PALMDALE – Seventeen-year-old Christopher Flores lay on the ground as a gunman stood over him and opened fire, according to three witnesses who testified in an Antelope Valley courtroom Friday morning.
The witnesses were testifying at the preliminary hearing for Victor Flores (no relation), who is accused of murdering the teenager on Sept. 24, 2012.
Victor Flores, 37, is charged with first degree murder in connection with the incident, which happened outside of his home in the 38100 block of Boxthorn Street in Palmdale.
The suspect and the victim were neighbors, living just three houses away from each other on the same street. But there was an ongoing feud between the two families that apparently came to a head on the night of the shooting, witnesses testified Friday.
Around 9 p.m. on Sept. 24, 2012, Christopher Flores came home and was upset, according to his 22-year-old sister, Deana Carmona.
Other family members left the house and headed for Victor Flores’ home to see what was wrong, Carmona testified.
She and Christopher’s twin brother, Michael, ran to the driveway of the home next to Victor’s, Carmona said.
Standing in his open garage, Victor Flores looked angry and demanded that the two go away, Carmona testified.
Victor Flores then pulled a gun from his pocket, cocked the hammer, and threatened Michael Flores, Carmona testified.
“He said he was going to kill him, in Spanish,” Carmona said. Soon after the threat, Victor Flores shot at the ground in front of him, and then he raised his gun and fired, Carmona testified.
Carmona said she sought cover behind a neighbor’s tree while Michael Flores ran to another house.
Jonathan Lopez, the boyfriend of Christopher Flores’ mother, said he witnessed Victor Flores shoot at the two siblings.
Lopez testified that he was standing in the middle of the street to the left of Victor Flores’ house and had an unobstructed view as the drama unfolded. He said Christopher Flores was standing in Victor Flores’ driveway at the time.
The man and the teen were arguing, but he couldn’t make out what they were saying, Lopez said. Some time during the argument, Christopher Flores took his shirt off and threw it on the ground, Lopez testified. Gun in hand, Victor Flores began walking toward Christopher Flores as the teenager backed out of the driveway towards the street, Lopez testified.
Victor Flores fired at least twice and one of the shots appeared to hit Christopher Flores in the stomach, Lopez testified.
“Chris grabbed his stomach and fell to the ground,” Lopez said. He said the teenage fell into a gutter between the curb and the street.
“Chris said, ‘alright you shot me, stop!’” Lopez testified.
Victor Flores walked up to the teenager, stood over him from the sidewalk and fired a few more shots as Christopher Flores lay on the ground, Lopez testified.
“He was screaming, ‘Stop shooting me! You got me!’” Lopez testified.
Carmona also testified that she saw Victor Flores standing over her brother, Christopher Flores, and firing a gun.
A third witness testifying Friday morning said he saw the shooting on video.
The incident was captured by security cameras from one of the residences, according to testimony from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Detective Steven Blagg.
The teenager is seen taking off his shirt and throwing it on the ground and then flailing his arms, as Victor Flores stands in his driveway, Blagg testified.
The video shows Victor Flores raising his right hand and appearing to discharge a weapon, as Christopher Flores backs up, Blagg testified. Victor Flores walks toward Christopher Flores and fires several more rounds at Christopher Flores while the teenager is on the ground, Blagg testified.
After the shooting, another person is seen grabbing Victor Flores and pulling him back toward the garage, Blagg testified. The 17-year-old died of multiple gunshot wounds at Antelope Valley Hospital a short time later.
Sheriff’s investigators found an empty magazine from a .40-caliber handgun in Victor Flores’ front pocket, Blagg said. They also observed several empty cartridge cases at the crime scene, and they found the gun in Victor Flores’ home, Blagg said.
Following the preliminary hearing Friday morning, Superior Court Judge Kathleen Blanchard ruled there was enough evidence for Victor Flores to stand trial for murder.
Victor Flores was ordered to trial for first degree murder and two counts of assault with a firearm, and bail was set at $2,000,205. He is due back in court on March 22, for a second arraignment.