LOS ANGELES – An ex-con pleaded not guilty Tuesday in connection with a security guard’s shooting death outside a private student housing complex near USC shortly after Christmas.
Alexader Crawford, 31, is charged with one count of murder and a gun use allegation for the late-night Dec. 27 killing of Jave Garanganao, along with one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.
Crawford was allegedly trespassing at the Lorenzo apartment complex in the 300 block of West Adams Boulevard, about a half-mile from the main USC campus, when Garanganao asked him to leave and followed him, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Once off the property, Crawford allegedly fired a handgun and killed the security guard before fleeing the scene, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Garanganao, 41, was pronounced dead at the scene from a gunshot wound to the chest, according to records from the coroner’s office.
Los Angeles police said officers responded to a radio call of a gunshot victim down at around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 28, and found the suspect — subsequently identified as Crawford — sleeping in a parking area near the lobby area of the building.
“Detectives were able to review video and determined that the person detained was the suspect in this incident,” police said in a Dec. 28 statement announcing Crawford’s arrest. “Los Angeles Police Department Central Bureau Homicide detectives determined that Crawford was in possession of a handgun matching the handgun caliber used in the murder, was wearing clothing closely resembling the suspect’s clothing at the time of the incident and matched the suspect description in race, sex and physical description.”
In a statement released shortly after the case was filed, District Attorney George Gascón said, “Mr. Garanganao was just trying to do his job when he was tragically killed,” “My heart goes out to the victim’s family and friends who have endured such a tremendous loss during the holiday season.”
Garanganao was the father of a 13-year-old daughter and employed by Secure Net Alliance, CBS2 reported. The company set up a fundraiser to pay for burial expenses and help his daughter.
Crawford has remained behind bars in lieu of $2 million bail since his arrest.
He is due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom April 20, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to allow the case against him to proceed to trial.