Bloody weekend in Long Beach; gang shootings leave 3 dead, 1 hurt

By Tracy Manzer, Staff Writer

LONG BEACH – Police are investigating a series of gang-related shootings that left three dead and one injured over the weekend, authorities said Monday.

Whether any of the homicides – which occurred Friday, Saturday and Sunday – are linked is still under investigation, said Sgt. Dina Zapalski, a Long Beach Police Department spokeswoman.

“The investigations are still active, and we’re looking into whether or not any of them are related,” Zapalski said. “We are investigating all of them as gang-related.”

Zapalski said resources were being pulled from divisions throughout the department to help in the investigations. Patrol divisions were also beefed up, particularly in neighborhoods hit with recent spikes in violent crime.

The trio of killings brought the city’s homicide rate to 27 people dead so far this year, the sergeant said.

The bloody weekend began to unfold with the first shooting, which resulted in the death of 26-year-old Jose Manuel Hernandez, at about 10:30 p.m. Friday in the 500 block of Olive Avenue in Downtown Long Beach.

Hernandez and another man, who was also hit by gunfire but survived, were at a party at the time of the attack, police said.

The first officers on the scene found Hernandez lying in the street, suffering from numerous gunshot wounds to the upper torso. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Long Beach Fire Department paramedics, police said.

The second victim, a 25-year-old Long Beach man, was already gone from the location. He was driven to a local hospital for treatment, and is expected to survive, authorities said.

The following day, in North Long Beach, a 25-year-old Los Angeles man was gunned down at about 1:30 p.m. near 52nd Street and Orange Avenue, police said.

Dwight Caldwell, 25, was shot repeatedly in broad daylight Dwight Caldwell in an area that included a number of potential witnesses, police said.

Caldwell was standing at an intersection when a car pulled up and a gunman opened fire, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Department.

Caldwell suffered multiple gunshot wounds and collapsed after running into a nearby residence, said Craig Harvey, a Coroner’s Department spokesman.

The L.A. man was taken to a local hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries, police said.

While no suspect description was given, police did say the suspects were seen fleeing the area in the dark vehicle used in the attack.

The third victim – whose name was withheld Monday pending notification of his family – was killed in North Long Beach shortly before 11 p.m. Sunday, police said.

The victim, a 24-year-old Long Beach man, was killed as he sat at a four-way stop in his vehicle at the intersection of Cummings Lane and Butler Avenue, near the border of Compton, police said.

It was not clear what prompted the gunman to walk up to the 24-year-old’s vehicle and open fire, pumping several rounds into the car and killing the man.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, said Nancy Pratt, a Long Beach Police Department spokeswoman.

Details on that incident were particularly sketchy Monday, with no suspect description and no motive for the shooting.

“We have no idea what happened,” Pratt said.

Police on Monday urged anyone with information about the slaying or any of the other deadly incidents to come forward.

“Our most successful cases are cases where the community has worked with us,” Zapalski said. “A little bit of information goes a long way.”

In addition to the three shootings, two other deaths occurred in the city over the weekend: a 41-year-old Long Beach woman was found dead in her Peninsula home; the cause of her death has yet to be determined; and a 29-year-old city employee was killed in a shootout with police Sunday.

Shannon Elizabeth Emerick was found inside her home, near Ocean Boulevard and 63rd Place, at 11:24 a.m. Thursday after loved ones reported to police that she had not been seen or heard from in a while.

There were no obvious signs of foul play, police said, and her cause of death will be determined by autopsy, which will include a toxicology test used to detect drugs and/or alcohol, police and coroner’s officials said Monday.

James Neal Tuggle, a Long Beach sanitation worker and father of two children, was shot and killed by police after he ambushed officers two different times, authorities said Sunday.

Tuggle, who had a criminal history going back more than 10 years, was armed with two handguns and a shotgun and shot out windows in two police cruisers before he was fatally shot at about 5 a.m. on Cedar Avenue, just south of Anaheim Street, officers said.

“We’re very lucky that no officers were injured in this incident,” said Long Beach Police Cmdr. Laura Farinella.

The investigation into Tuggle’s death – which includes an investigation by the LBPD and an independent review by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office – remains open.

Posted by on May 4 2009. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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