The Escalade was headed down a dreary and industrial stretch of road in Commerce when the first bullet buried itself in the driver’s back. He stomped on the gas. Bullets slammed into the car. Blood leaked from his gut.
The black SUV was ferrying the son of Lev Aslan Dermen, a petroleum mogul and suspected organized crime figure. His son escaped, unscathed.
The shooting drew little notice until a year later, when an extortionist for the Mexican Mafia contacted a Los Angeles Police Department detective from jail with a startling story: The gunman was a gang member, he said, but a Glendale detective had offered him $100,000 to “scare” someone, according to an affidavit that details his statement.