LONG BEACH — Two men have been arrested in connection with a hit-and-run incident downtown that killed a 24-year-old mother last week, police said Wednesday.
Long Beach detectives arrested 26-year-old Compton resident Froylan Velazquez, who was charged by the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office with vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run Tuesday, and 26-year-old Bellflower resident Edward Martinez, who was booked for being an accessory and is awaiting arraignment.
At 1:45 a.m. on Feb. 13, officers were called to Third Street and Pine Avenue for a "vehicle versus passenger" incident that resulted in the death of Long Beach resident Serena Medina, who family members said had a 4-year-old daughter.
Police said witnesses observed a group involved in an altercation, which family and friends of the victim said began at Taco Beach restaurant and bar at 211 Pine Ave. and later spilled out onto the street.
Miguel Peralta, Medina's father, said police told him that two men got into a car and reversed the vehicle, hitting Medina and one other person and fleeing by the time police arrived.
Both victims were taken to a local hospital, where Medina died, police said.
Homicide and Accident Investigation Detail detectives came to a similar conclusion.
"As the investigation progressed, it became clear to investigators that this was not a typical traffic accident and possibly was an intentional act," police said in a statement.
Detectives went on a search for the suspects' vehicle and found it in Compton.
"My daughter is going to finally get justice," Peralta said Wednesday after he learned of the arrests.
Meanwhile, friends and family members gathered for a vigil Wednesday night at Third Street and Pine Avenue to celebrate Medina's life.
Medina, who was unemployed and unmarried, had many friends and wasn't the type of person to get involved in a fight, Peralta said. He said she hadn't been directly involved in last week's altercation and that he had heard that she was trying to calm the situation before she was hit.
"Everybody loved her," said her friend Cassandra Medina, who isn't related to her. "She always had a smile on her face and she was very sweet and loving.
"It's so sad that this happened to her."
Serena Medina loved to sing and made her daughter, Leah, a priority, her friend said.
Peralta said he has been overwhelmed by the response of the community, who donated money and time at car washes last weekend and at other activities to help raise money for his daughter's funeral.
"It seems like the whole community got together," he said.
Medina's funeral is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday at All Souls Cemetery, 4400 Cherry Ave., in Long Beach.
Anyone with information may contact Long Beach Police Homicide Detectives Hugo Cortes or Peter Lackovic at 562-570-7244. Those who want to remain anonymous may call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or text TIPLA plus your tip to 274637 (CRIMES), or visit www.LACrimeStoppers.org.