Police seek gunmen in gang shootings

Los Angeles Daily News

Police seek gunmen in gang shootings
By Jason Kandel
Staff Writer

Monday, September 09, 2002 – PACOIMA – Police fanned out Monday in search of several gunmen responsible for a spate of gang violence that began Labor Day weekend, leaving three men dead and seven people wounded.

Two more homicides occurred in North Hollywood this weekend, but it was unclear whether they were gang-related.

“We’re experiencing an increase in shootings and violence,’ said Lt. George Rock, who supervises LAPD Foothill Division detectives. “We’re trying our best to obtain additional resources to put officers in the area of Pacoima to try to reduce the number of violent incidents.’

Los Angeles Police Department gang investigators from the Special Enforcement Unit have been called in to help Foothill officers investigate six separate incidents.

Gang violence has broken the calm of a somewhat peaceful summer, pushing the Valley’s homicide rate to 86 since Jan. 1 – more than half of which are gang-related.

“I’m just sick,’ said gang intervention specialist William “Blinky’ Rodriguez, executive director of Communities in Schools. “That’s what we’re trying to reduce. There’s only so much you can do.’

The recent string of violence began about 2 p.m. Aug. 31, when Johnny Lemos, 21, of North Hills was critically wounded in a car-to-car shooting on Van Nuys Boulevard near Herrick Avenue.

On Sept. 2, Ruben Ramirez, 33, of Arleta and Anthony Richardson, 38, of Pacoima were shot and wounded in separate incidents.

Shortly after midnight Sept. 3, Jacob Padilla, 54, and Jose Palos, 20, were shot and wounded as they were hanging out in the San Fernando Gardens public housing projects.

The bloodshed escalated Thursday night when Silverio Luna, 22, who police say was in a Pacoima gang, was ki*led in a drive-by shooting in the 13400 block of Van Nuys Boulevard.

Another gang-related incident occurred Thursday at 2:09 a.m. when Akida Clay, 25, and Daniel Sykes, 34, were ki*led in an ambush shooting on Jamie Avenue in Pacoima. Lonnie Diggs, 25, and Felincia Brown, 37, were wounded in the incident.

“We’re working several leads from different sources that seem to point to one individual,’ Rock said.

Since Friday, two more homicides occurred, but it was unclear whether they were gang-related.

Artak Jragatsbanian, 26, was fatally shot about 9:15 a.m. Friday in the 6100 block of Colfax Avenue in North Hollywood. The gunman is described as African-American, in his 20s or 30s, about 6 feet tall with a husky build, a shaved head and a goatee, officials said.

Raul Gonzales, 31, was fatally shot about 1 a.m. Sunday in his home in the 11400 block of Albers Street in North Hollywood. Jose Arevalos, 19, of East Los Angeles has been arrested in that slaying, authorities said.

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