|Above, Steve Ballreich. Photo: Ballreich family.|
On the night of Nov. 14, 1991, Stephen (Steve) Lynn Ballreich was shotgunned to death across the street from the Ramona Convent at the 1700 block of Marguerita Avenue in Alhambra.
Ballreich received two 12-gauge shotgun blasts: one to the face and one to the back.
To date, this murder is still unsolved. Allegedly, the Los Angeles County Sheriff has some leads, but has been tight-lipped about them.
Ballreich was once the mayor of Alhambra at age 26, after having been elected to the Alhambra City Council in 1974. He was also a political campaign consultant. I knew Ballreich in 1972 when he was campaign consultant for state assembly candidate James Knapp in Inglewood, California.
Ballreich's modus operandi
in campaigns was to have the campaign rent an apartment for "political purposes," which were mainly for his rendezvous with women. I remember him being interrupted several times when we showed up for campaign signs in the dead of night. He didn't get upset over the interruptions, but he did sport a sheepish grin.
Several former associates of Ballreich's complain that the authorities have not pursued the case.
According to an article
in the Pasadena Weekly
Ballreich's death was quick, brutish and seemingly well orchestrated. Residents who heard the shots summoned Alhambra police. Witnesses said they'd seen a dark, 1970s-era Camaro fleeing the scene. Nothing apparently ever came of that lead.
In the immediate aftermath, fear clenched Marguerita Avenue. The nearby elementary school - the same one that Ballreich attended in the 1960s - went into lockdown after someone reported a prowler lurking. It was not the last suspicious sighting, not with a murderer running loose.
Police discovered Ballreich lying face up with what the coroner's office said was "massive open head trauma." The second wound came from a shot that struck him in the upper left side of his back and exited through his chest leaving a roughly seven-inch gash. Either of these gunshot wounds was lethal.
The autopsy report said three salvos were fired, but only described two of them. Ballreich, it said, appeared to have been "walking on the sidewalk" when he was killed. This may be critical. While he was an avid runner, Ballreich was wearing underpants but not an athletic supporter at the time he died. Some have wondered whether he was meeting somebody that night.
|Above, the 1700 block of S. Marguerita Ave., Alhambra. The Ramona Convent is to|
the left of Marguerita Ave.
It is odd that the Alhambra Police nor the L.A. County Sheriff have vigorously pursued the murder of someone so prominent in the San Gabriel Valley.
Theories of Ballreich's murder run the gamut of revenge over bad drug deals, political retribution, angry boyfriends/husbands to Bill and Hillary Clinton ("The Clinton Body Count").
The Pasadena Weekly
article seems to have brought out a few details on Ballreich's life and detectives decided to take another look.
Chip Jacobs wrote that Ballreich's murder may have been due to gambling in an article
from November 30, 2006. The article indicated that detectives were pursuing this motive following the Pasadena Weekly
However, since the Jacobs article, there has been no word on the investigation into Ballreich's murder.
The Ballreich murder continues to sit unsolved.