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The Shooting


THE SHOOTING: The Death of Michael Domaloan – An Update

September 18th, 2013 by Celeste Fremon


On the night of September 17, 2003, Michael Domaloan,
21, and Felix Quiroz, 23, were shot outside a club named Bub Blars that was located nearby to Cal State Northridge. Both Michael and Felix died of their wounds in the early hours of September 18, ten years ago today.

Although the shooting took place in front of more than a dozen witnesses, no one was ever tried in criminal court for the deaths of Michael and Felix.

The reasons why are complicated and heartbreaking.

WitnessLA began to tell the story some years ago.

Then we got sidetracked by the many other stories that are also important—things like corruption in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the ongoing saga at juvenile probation both in LA and elsewhere in the state, the many-layered issue of California’s prison realignment, the cost to kids of zero tolerance policies…and more.

Yet, the story of the shooting of Michael Domaloan and Felix Quiroz, and its troubling legal aftermath, still continues to haunt us.

It is because of our commitment to telling this crucial story and others like it—however long it takes—that WitnessLA exists.

We plan to make our way back to finishing our work on Michael and Felix’s case in early 2014.

So, for those who still wait for answers, don’t give up. We haven’t.

In the meantime, here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2 of The Shooting.

Posted in Contemplating Crime & Consequence, crime and punishment, The Shooting | No Comments »

The Shooting: Seven Years Later

September 17th, 2010 by Celeste Fremon



Seven years ago today, on the night of September 17, 2003,
Michael Domaloan, 21, and Felix Quiroz, 23, were shot outside a club named Bub Blars that was located nearby to Cal State Northridge. They each died of their wounds before morning.

Although the shooting took place in front of more than a dozen witnesses, no one was ever tried in criminal court for the deaths of Michael and Felix.

The reasons why this is so are complicated and heartbreaking.

I began to tell the story here at WitnessLA two years ago. (See part 1 here, and Part 2 here.)

For those of you who have been waiting for the next chapters, please know that it is a project that we at WitnessLA are committed to completing between now and the 8th anniversary of The Shooting.

In fact, it is because of a commitment this story, and others like it, that I am turning WitnessLA into a non-profit, and expanding it this year so that we can do investigations such as this one—stories that are far too important to ignore.

Our partnership with Spot.Us to form The LA Justice Report is the first step in that expansion. But more are in the works.

So, those of you who are impatient, hang in.

And stay tuned.

Posted in The Shooting | 1 Comment »

The Shooting: Part 2

September 18th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

michael-shrine

Last Sunday night, Karen Domaloan had an unusually vivid dream
about her son, Michael. “He used to come to me in dreams all the time,” she said when we talked on Monday afternoon. “But now it’s just on certain days, like on my birthday, and then last night, I guess because the anniversary’s coming up.” By “anniversary,” Karen meant that the date of her son’s death had come around again.

On the night of September 17, 2003, Michael was shot three times, once in the leg, once in the shoulder, once in the back. The latter wound caused extensive damage to multiple organs and was the fatal one.

“With a wound like that people can be walking around and all the time they’re bleeding out internally,” said Dr. Juan Carrillo, a deputy medical examiner in the LA County’s Coroner’s office, and the man who performed the autopsy on Michael Domaloan.

Michael was pronounced dead at Northridge Medical Center at thirty-eight minutes after midnight, on September 18, exactly six years ago.

When any parent who loses a child, healing comes with difficulty, if at all. Karen thinks the dream was one more marginal step toward whatever healing she will ever gain. In it, she said, Michael reenacted what had happened on the night he died, taking her through the moments step by step. “I know it sounds weird,” she told me, “But I felt like he thought I was finally ready to hear it.”

Dreams notwithstanding, certain facts are in dispute about the night of September 17, 2003. Still there is much that can be known. We know that Michael Domaloan, 21, and Felix Quiroz, 23, were each shot outside a club named Bub Blars that was located nearby to Cal State Northridge. We know that for each of the two young men, the wounds were fatal.

We also know that the club, which has since closed, was favored by a mostly 20-something crowd who came for the flavored tobacco that one could smoke in large, exotic-looking hookas. They came too for the socializing and for the weekly open mic rap battles.

We also know that before Michael and his friends made it inside the club, a series of events occurred involving several groups of highly intoxicated and truculent young men. whose shouts and drunken bravado led to two separate physical fights. The last fight led to tragedy.

One of the groups was Michael and company , who, in the last years or so, had loosely formed themselves into a party crew that they had named Insane Hispanics. IH for short. The other group was made up of another party crew that called itself Loked Up Kriminals or LUK.

Some party or tagging crews morph eventually into full fledged shooting, drug-dealing gangs and LUK showed some signs of heading that direction. But in 2003 both crews were mostly groups of young men who drank too much on the weekend then sometimes got into fist fights. During the week, the majority of the crew members went back to their jobs and girlfriends and lives. But with LUK anyway, there were starting to be guns in evidence.

The first of the fights occurred when Michael and Felix and some of their friends, both male and female, were in Bub Blar’s parking lot preparing to go inside when a guy named Maarouf Mansour pulled up in his car, his sound system pumped up glass-shatteringly loud. Mansour was a member of a real gang— Brown Pride Surrenos—and he was drunk and bored. After Mansour allegedly “hit up” several of the club patrons—i.e. asked them what gang they were from. After that, Monsour, Felix and Michael exchanged a volley of verbal challenges, followed by a bizarre fist fight in which, for the duration of the slugfest, Mansour stayed in the driver’s seat of his car while he and the other two flailed at each other. Mansour at one point even bit Michael.

After a several minutes of mutual pummeling, one of the owners of the club called the police, then tried to break the fight up. After a bit more posturing, the fighters scattered.

Mansour did not return to the club. After he left Bub Blars was stopped by police, and subsquently arrested when officers found a hand gun hidden in his vehicle’s console.

However, Michael and company came back a half hour or so later. When they did, they ran into the LUK faction who had heard about the earlier fight and now appeared to want one of their own. Among the the LUK contingent was a banty rooster of a kid named Chris Landros who had a girlfriend working at Bub Blars. Like Michael and friends, Landros seemed to be looking for a reason to throw some righteous punches—and began, as he himself put it, “talking shit” to some of the IH crew.

Within minutes, the shouts, insults, challenges and taunts escalated into blows. Although around six young men took part in the brawl, after a while, the three primary fighters were Michael, Felix and Chris Landros, while a crowd from both groups plus some strangers hovered. One of the hovering LUK guys was Alijandro Murillo, a twenty-something with a fade haircut who had been reported by witnesses to be openly displaying a gun a few minutes before the fight. When the fight got started, he allegedly pulled the gun.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in criminal justice, The Shooting | 59 Comments »

The Shooting – the Trillionth Update

October 21st, 2008 by Celeste Fremon


Thank you to all you who have enquired about the seemingly endless delays
in posting the next segment in the series, The Shooting. I still have one more thing holding me up that, given my present slightly psychotic schedule, may take another week or so to resolve.

But Part 2 is coming, I promise.

Thank you for your interest…..and your patience.

Posted in crime and punishment, The Shooting | No Comments »

The Shooting – an Update

September 26th, 2008 by Celeste Fremon

The next installment of the new series begun here last week, titled The Shooting, about the death of Michael Domaloan, was to have appeared this week.

However, I am still working on it so the new installment will now appear during the first week of October.

Posted in The Shooting | 1 Comment »

The Shooting

September 18th, 2008 by Celeste Fremon

michael-domaloan.jpg

NOTE: The story below is the beginning of a tale that will run as a series.

*************************************************************************************************************


Exactly five years ago today Karen Domaloan got the call.

She was lying propped up in her bed watching late night television waiting for her son Michael to come home.

She understood that was ridiculous to wait up for a twenty-one year old, but she couldn’t help it. She did her best not to over-mother Michael now that he had moved home after the big fight with his girlfriend, Monique, a few weeks before.

Karen pretty much figured the split was temporary, that the two young people would likely end up together. But that was the thing, they were young. The pair seemed very attached to each other, but they were also hot-headed and sometimes neither had the sense to back down when backing down was needed.

This argument was bigger than usual and, when the anger cleared, it was agreed that Monique would keep the apartment while Michael would pack his things and move into his childhood bedroom.

Karen adored having her son at home. She doted on her two girls, of course, Mandy and Nicole, his sisters. But she was uniquely close to Michael, the baby. A big, beautiful kid who was a natural athlete, looks-wise Michael took after his Hawaiian father, Melvin, who had been killer-handsome as a younger man. But while Melvin tended toward a Zen-ish sort of yep/nope taciturnity, emotionally, Michael was his mother’s child, expressive and awash with feelings.

He could also be tough.. Karen didn’t like to think about it, but she knew he’d been in fights, and that he was probably good at fighting. A few years back, when he was 15 or so he’d gotten in with the wrong crowd, there’d been a juvenile arrest and she’d had to put her foot down. Eventually maturity seemed to kick in. Now Michael was working construction, which suited him, and he was really busting his butt to move up the food chain on the building crew. Plus he was finally going back to school. First Pierce College in Canoga Park, and then, she and Melvin hoped, on to a four-year. Michael wasn’t academic like his sister Mandy, but he was a smart kid, and he said he wanted to have the degree, so Karen thought he might stick it out.

Through it all, even the rebellious times, she and Michael remained close.

When the phone rang at nearly 1 a.m. Karen assumed it was Michael calling to say he was on his way home, that she shouldn’t worry. She grabbed the cordless at her bedside.

“Hello?”

“You need to come to Northridge Hospital now…”

Karen was momentarily disoriented. It was not Michael’s voice, but Johnny, her son’s close friend and one of the guys she knew he was with that night. At least she thought it was Johnny. His voice sounded odd, not at all normal.

“What?” she said.

“You need to come to Northridge. Just come. You need to come.”

Karen was alone in the house in Chatsworth. Melvin, a Vietnam Vet who still occasionally suffered bouts of PTSD and went off the wagon, was at Veterans hospital for treatment. She pulled on clothes and scrambled for keys to the grey Chevy Tahoe. And then she headed for the Northridge Hospital Medical Center located at the corner on Roscoe and Reseda. Michael was hurt, she thought. He must be hurt bad or he would have called her not, Johnny. Michael was the Alpha of his group. Always had been, even as a kid. His sisters, while older than her son, now regarded him as the big brother, all three of them agreeing on the switch in position.


Karen also thought about how she’d asked him not to go out
that night because she’d had an uncomfortable feeling. But Michael had been Michael.

“Don’t worry, mom,” he’d said. “I can take care of myself. I won’t be late.” And see? She’d been right. Now, look, he was hurt.

karen-and-melvin.jpg

At the hospital, she parked and walked quickly into the ER entrance. Unsure exactly what she was to do, she gave her name to woman at the registration window.

“I’m Karen Domaloan.”

The woman said to wait a minute. Karen waited. Then a man in a lab coat, obviously a doctor came out and asked her to follow him into one of the examination rooms.

It was then that Karen knew before the doctor told her.

“I want to see my son,” she said,
the hysteria rising like groundwater. “Let me see my son,” she said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in crime and punishment, criminal justice, LAPD, Presidential race, The Shooting | 29 Comments »