News Releases

July 5, 2017: Man Charged with Killing Ex-Wife, Shooting Another in Whittier

Sarah Ardalani, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

CORRECTION: An earlier post listed the case number as VA145615. The correct case number is VA145165. 

A 38-year-old man was charged today with fatally shooting his ex-wife and seriously injuring her boyfriend, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Efrem Ruben Lozoya (dob 7/11/78) of Pico Rivera has been charged with two felony counts in case VA145165: murder and attempted murder. The charging document includes a special allegation that Lozoya personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, which caused great bodily injury and death.

The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned today in Department 5 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Downey Branch. Prosecutors are asking that bail be set at $5 million.

Prosecutors said Lozoya and his ex-wife, Nereida Villanueva, have two children together and had been divorced for several years.

On the morning of July 1, Lozoya reportedly dropped off one of his children at Villanueva’s apartment in Whitter, prosecutors said.

Shortly after entering Villanueva’s residence, Lozoya allegedly shot his ex-wife and her boyfriend, who also was in the apartment, according to prosecutors.

Following the attack, Lozoya reportedly fled the scene, prosecutors added. Authorities were called and Villanueva was pronounced dead at the scene, while the victim’s boyfriend was taken to a hospital for medical treatment, prosecutors said.

Hours after the fatal shooting, the defendant turned himself into authorities, prosecutors said.

If convicted as charged, Lozoya faces a possible maximum sentence of 75 years to life in state prison.

The case is being investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Homicide Bureau.