A murder suspect remained at large Wednesday, March 10 one day after his erroneous release from jail prompted the shutdown of the southbound Hollywood (101) Freeway in Los Angeles for more than an hour while authorities searched for the man.
Steven Manzo, 24, of Hawaiian Gardens, was released from jail at 2:12 p.m. Tuesday, with a Long Beach police spokeswoman subsequently saying, “Yesterday, we were notified by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office that suspect Steven Manzo was released from custody after our Department had already filed criminal charges. Upon further review, it was determined he should not have been released.”
In a statement released later this morning, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said it “did NOT erroneously release a murder suspect yesterday from our custody.”
“LASD received an ‘Order For Release’ from the court, indicating the case was dismissed. As such, the Department complied with the court order and processed the individual for release,” according to the statement. “Should you have any further questions about this incident or the circumstances surrounding it, please contact Long Beach Police Department or the District Attorney’s Office.”
Manzo was arrested and charged a year ago with the July 26, 2018, killing of Salvador Corrales, 24, according to Long Beach police.
Officers found evidence of a shooting but no victim at 9:05 that night when they were dispatched to a call of shots fired in the 6700 block of Cherry Avenue. Corrales’ body was later found inside a vehicle in the 5800 block of Florence Avenue in Bell Gardens, and evidence linked the shots fired in Long Beach with his death, police said.
Manzo was charged with one count each of murder, attempted murder, shooting at an occupied motor vehicle, possession for sale of methamphetamine and sale/sell/transportation of methamphetamine. Two co-defendants, Gabriel Ivan Martinez and Daniel Alberto Cardona, were charged with robbery and drug counts.
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the case against Manzo was dismissed Monday and the same five charges were immediately refiled under a different case number after Manzo was not transported from jail to court.
A hearing had been set to determine whether there was enough evidence to allow the case against him to proceed to trial, according to Ricardo Santiago of the District Attorney’s Office.
“The remaining two defendants refused to waive time so the preliminary hearing could be postponed until Manzo could be transported to court. As a result, the prosecutor asked for the case to be dismissed and immediately refiled it with the same charges against the three defendants to allow for the postponement of the preliminary hearing,” Santiago said. “The new case, NA116527, was called by the court. Manzo was ordered remanded and arraignment was continued until March 23 when the defendant would be able to appear in court. The other defendants pleaded not guilty.
“The next day, the prosecutor became aware that the defendant had been released from custody and alerted law enforcement.”
Long Beach police spokeswoman Arantxa Chavarria said her department “contacted LASD to assist with his apprehension. LASD set up a containment perimeter, but they were not able to take him into custody. Our department will work with local agencies to make every effort to locate suspect Manzo to take him safely into custody.”
“To further clarify, the Long Beach Police Department had no involvement in the erroneous release of the suspect and further inquiries should be directed to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office,” the LBPD statement said.