The North Hollywood casino killing involved the murder of a security guard, Anthony Rivas, during a failed robbery of an underground casino. The incident occurred on May 31, in a hookah lounge located on the 3300 block of Cahuenga Boulevard. Two men, wearing ski masks and armed with rifles, entered the business with the intent to commit a robbery. Rivas, who was 32 years old at the time, drew his handgun in response but was shot multiple times and died at the scene.
Four men have been arrested in connection with the murder. Matthew S. Riley, 29, and Rudy J. Madrid, 26, were charged with murder for allegedly shooting Rivas with assault rifles. Both were identified as gang members by the police. The two other men, Steven H. Dunkel, 23, and Michael J. Blankenship, 52, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery.
The business on Cahuenga was being used as an underground casino. After the shooting, the customers and workers fled the scene, and the robbers escaped without taking any money. A significant breakthrough in the case happened when LAPD officers recognized the getaway car, a silver Dodge Challenger, from a security video. The car led investigators first to Riley and then, through a variety of investigative techniques, to the other alleged participants.
Rivas was the father of an 18-month-old boy and worked as a guard at various businesses. He was well-liked and widely known by his nickname, “Barry White,” due to his imposing size and resemblance to the singer. His wife, Crystal Najar, described him as a hard-working individual.
Investigators believe that the group might have been involved in robberies of other illegal gambling operations, and have shared their photos in the hope that witnesses or victims of other holdups would come forward.