LOS ANGELES — The process was routine. Los Angeles County Sheriff's homicide investigator Kevin Lloyd was flipping through snapshots of tattooed gang members.
Then one caught his attention.
Inked on the pudgy chest of a young Pico Rivera gangster who had been picked up and released on a minor offense was the scene of a 2004 liquor store slaying that had stumped Lloyd for more than four years.
Each key detail was right there: the Christmas lights that lined the roof of the liquor store where 23-year-old John Juarez was gunned down, the direction his body fell, the bowed street lamp across the way and the street sign — all under the chilling banner of RIVERA KILLS, a reference to the gang Rivera-13.
As if to seal the deal, below the collarbone of the gang member known by the alias "Chopper" was a miniature helicopter raining down bullets on the scene.