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Gunman Who Killed California Police Officer Caught After Slaying Robbery Witness in Oregon
Officer Martin Ganz's 12-year-old nephew was with him for a ride-along the night he was killed. The traumatized boy became a key witness.
Manhattan Beach Police Department Officer Martin Ganz expected December 27, 1993 to be a business-as-usual night shift in the peaceful California community.
He’d invited his 12-year-old nephew for a ride-along to give him a first-hand look at his line of work.
But tragedy struck. Ganz, 29, was gunned down during a routine traffic stop near the Manhattan Village shopping mall.
When Tim Zins, a Manhattan Beach PD sergeant who’s now retired, arrived on the scene, he saw that Ganz had a gunshot wound to his face.
“He was bleeding profusely and choking on his blood,” Zins told The Real Murders of Los Angeles, airing Fridays at 9/8c on Oxygen. Ganz was rushed to a hospital, where he died.
Officer Martin Ganz shot dead doing his job
The killer, who fled the scene, had opened fire as Ganz approached his car, police learned from the nephew. Ganz retreated behind his patrol car, but was struck by the fatal shot.
The shooter aimed his gun at Ganz’s nephew but didn’t fire. The traumatized tween described the killer’s car as a gray or silver compact hatchback.
The nephew told police that the shooter “was of Asian descent, mid-20s, with a medium build,” said Delores Scott, a now-retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigator.
Investigators considered various possible motives, according to Tim Hageman, a retired Manhattan Beach PD captain.
Was Ganz singled out? Was the shooter targeting officers in general? Was the killer out to rob a grocery market, which was the only shop open in the area?
An autopsy performed on December 28 revealed that Ganz, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, was shot three times — in the shoulder, back and face.
The fatal shot was to his left cheekbone fired from a .380-caliber pistol. Police believed the killer was a “desperate person,” said Scott. “He could have flown the scene after he shot Martin the first time.”
Painstaking search for car driven by Martin Ganz's killer
Early into the investigation, detectives determined that nearby surveillance cameras at a bank captured images of the killer’s car.
Engineers from Aerospace, a local defense contractor, stepped up to help detectives identify the make and model of the vehicle.
A task force was formed to find out who murdered Ganz. A sketch of the killer, based on the nephew’s description, was shared with the media. Meanwhile, Ganz’s fellow officers and loved ones, including his fiancée Pam Schultz, came together to celebrate his life.
“Even though I had thousands of people around me, I still felt alone,” she told The Real Murders of Los Angeles.
Through a slow and painstaking process of elimination, the killer’s car was determined to be a Daihatsu Charade.
“We learned through the Department of Motor Vehicles that there were actually 4,600 Daihatsus registered in the state of California,” said Scott.
How did Roger Hoan Brady emerge as a suspect in Martin Ganz's murder?
The case had stalled and begun to grow cold. But on January 20 of 1994, an anonymous caller told authorities to look into 28-year-old Roger Hoan Brady. The tipster said that Brady resembled the composite sketch, according to Tim Miley, a retired investigator with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. “We learned that Roger Brady had gone to federal prison for six bank robberies,” said Scott. “He was facing up to 25 years, but he got paroled after only three years.”
Brady was living with his parents in Malibu, approximately 30 miles from Manhattan Beach. He was working at a fast food restaurant, Scott added. He drove a Daihatsu Charade.
A surveillance team was immediately assigned to monitor Brady. Detectives learned his mother was Vietnamese and his father was American.
A straight-A student at Santa Monica High School, Brady’s grades nosedived his senior year when he became hooked on cocaine, according to Barbara Turner, a now-retired assistant head deputy district attorney in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Brady was robbing banks to support his drug habit. He became known as the “Sunglasses Bandit” because he wore a wig and shades, investigators said.
Detectives searched his parents’ home on January 27. The search of the house and the Daihatsu Charade turned up no drugs, alcohol, or firearms.
When Ganz’s nephew was shown a picture of Brady, he didn’t ID him, according to Scott.
Search for Martin Ganz’s killer stalls
Investigators were “crushed,” said Hageman. They were back to square one.
On February 14, 1994, two officers were killed in a fatal shooting in Torrance, about six miles from Manhattan Beach. The killer was 32-year-old David Fukuto.
After Fukuto became unable to pursue law enforcement after failing to score high enough on entrance exams, he took revenge. Could he have also killed Ganz?
Fukuto’s weapon was not a ballistic match for the gun that killed Ganz. He didn’t drive a Daihatsu, and Ganz’s nephew didn’t pick him out of a lineup.
Investigators determined Fukuto wasn’t their man in the Ganz case. Once again, they appeared to be starting from scratch.
Roger Hoan Brady resurfaces as a suspect when a robbery witness is killed
But on August 7, 1994, Miley got a call from Brady’s Los Angeles parole officer. Now living with his parents near the Oregon-Washington border, Brady was arrested after robbing a grocery store in Portland, Oregon.
While fleeing the scene, Brady killed a woman who was a witness. “He shot her three times,” said Turner.
Another person at the scene saw Brady speed away in a Daihatsu Charade. That witness got the car’s license plate. The car was registered under the suspect’s father’s name.
Police tracked down the home of Brady’s parents and Brady was arrested for the Oregon slaying. Investigators learned that the gun used to kill the woman was a .380-caliber pistol.
The firearm was a “perfect match” for the one used to kill Ganz, said Scott. Brady was arrested for Ganz’s murder.
In November 1995, Brady was convicted for the murder of Catalina Correa, a 55-year-old witness to the robbery.
He was sentenced to life in Oregon and then transported back to face his charges for Ganz's murder in California.
Prosecutors made the case that Brady intended on robbing the grocery story in Manhattan Beach near the mall. When he was pulled over with a gun, a violation of his parole that would have sent him back to prison, he killed Ganz, they said.
On November 19, 1998, Brady was found guilty of first-degree murder for killing Ganz. He was sentenced to death and remains on death row.
To find out more about the case, watch The Real Murders of Los Angeles, airing Fridays at 9/8c on Oxygen.