Triple Killing Leaves Few Clues

Triple kil#i*gg Leaves Few Clues
With no known motive and no suspects, city and county plan a $105,000 reward. Mayor calls the shooting in South L.A. an `obscene’ crime.
By Patrick McGreevy
Times Staff Writer

July 4, 2006

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday condemned the fatal shooting of three South Los Angeles residents, including two boys, as “obscene” and said he hoped a $105,000 reward would lead to the arrest of the two suspects who opened fire Friday with semiautomatic rifles.

Joining Villaraigosa and other officials at a City Hall news conference, Police Chief William J. Bratton said detectives did not yet know who was responsible for the attack or why it occurred. The chief said he did not believe it was racially motivated, even though the two gunmen were African American and the victims were Latinos.

“Motive? We are at a total loss at this time,” Bratton said.

Detectives are looking into whether the shooting was gang-related, although Bratton said there is no evidence any of the victims had a gang affiliation.

“These were not gang members. These were just kids,” Villaraigosa said.

“It is just absolutely obscene that people would just shoot kids this way — with automatic weapons, multiple times, even when they were on the ground. It’s outrageous,” he said.

Bratton said witnesses told police that two men, each armed with an blankault rifle, got out of a car and shot three people to death: Larry Marcial, 22; his nephew David Marcial, 10; and a neighbor, Luis Cervantes, 17. David’s brother, Sergio Marcial Jr., 12, was wounded; he was listed in stable condition Monday.

Thirty-seven shell casings were found at the scene in the 1100 block of East 49th Street after the 4:30 p.m. shooting.

The chief said that there did not appear to be any provocation or exchange of words between the victims and the gunmen but that witnesses were still being sought.

Faced with various descriptions of the vehicle, including some calling it a large, dark-colored car, ratton said police are reviewing videotape from surveillance cameras on nearby Central Avenue to see if they can identify the vehicle.

City officials said the attack was especially troubling even in a city where gun violence, though on the decline in recent years, remains a regular occurrence in some communities.

The LAPD on Monday released crime statistics showing that violent crime citywide was down 2.8% for the first six months of the year compared with the same period in 2005.

However, the three homicides Friday brought the number of kil#i*ggs in Newton Division for the first six months to 22, the same number as in the first half of 2005.

“The mblankacre on 49th Street this past Friday is a reminder that we still have too much violence in the city,” Bratton said.

“There are certain crimes that, even in a community that is too used to violent crime and loss of life, shock the public decency and the public conscience. This is one of those crimes,” he said.

The two gunmen were described as 18 to 20 years old. No description of a possible driver of the car was available.

The Los Angeles City Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday on offering a $75,000 reward for information leading to the ki*lers, and county Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke has proposed that the county board approve an additional $30,000.

Councilwoman Jan Perry, who proposed the city award, said the shooting in her district has left the community reeling.

“Anybody watching and following this issue had to be mortified by the cold-blooded nature of this homicide,” Villaraigosa said.

“We are hoping that the sheer tragedy of the crime will encourage anyone with information on the crime to step forward, but there are now 105,000 reasons why they should step forward as well,” he said.

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