Security on rise after five shootings

By Dan Abendschein, Staff Writer for Pasadena Star News
Nov 19, 2007


MONROVIA – A gang member’s release from prison may have sparked five shootings that resulted in three people being wounded over the weekend, police said Monday.

Three African-American men were shot, and several others appear to have been shot at, likely by Latino gang members. A known Latino gang member also had his house shot at, according to police Lt. Richard Wagnon.

“All these incidents look like they have some connection,” said Monrovia Lt. Steve Cofield, who leads the department’s detective bureau. He pointed to the prisoner’s release as a possible cause. “Something set this off, and we won’t leave a stone unturned.”

He said that police are looking for four to eight suspects from multiple gangs.

On Friday night, just before midnight, police received calls about shots fired around the 200 block of Central Avenue. Witnesses told police they saw several black men running, as if they were fleeing the gunfire, though witnesses varied on exactly where they saw them, said Cofield.

He said the shooting might have occurred in an alley that runs between Los Angeles Avenue and Central Avenue along the east side of Myrtle Avenue.

On Saturday afternoon, a 19-year-old black male was checked into the Methodist Hospital in Monrovia with two gunshot wounds, one in his leg, and the other on his lower lip, where a bullet grazed him.

Police were informed of the gunshot wounds from the hospital and went to interview the man, who told them he was attacked in a drive-by around the intersection of Primrose Avenue and Cypress Avenue, Wagnon said.

He added that the victim described the shooters in the car as Latino gang members, and the victim is part of a a black gang in the area.

The victim is now in stable condition, according to Monrovia police Sgt. Jaime Alfaro.

At about 9 p.m. Saturday, police received reports of gunfire at the home of the Latino gang member in the 200 block of East Atara, said Wagnon. Ten bullet holes were found in the house and a car in the driveway.

The crime was not reported until the next day, by a relative of the gang member, said Cofield.

On Sunday night, two black males in their 40s were shot in two incidents that happened within a few hours of each other, said Wagnon.

The victim in the second shooting was not a gang member, according to Cofield, but police have not yet determined if the first victim might be in a gang or related to a person in a gang.

The first shooting occurred around 6:40 p.m. in the 500 block of Los Angeles Avenue, according to Sgt. Tom Wright.

The 41-year-old victim had just parked his car when he was shot by several male Latino gang members, who fled in a light-colored car, said Wright.

The victim was stuck in the leg and the hand, he said.

Nothing was said prior to the attack, added Wright. The culprits simply drove by and fired.

The second shooting was reported around 8:50 p.m. on Shamrock Avenue and Walnut Avenue, said Wagnon.

A black male in his 40s was driving his car when Latino gang members pulled up next to him and fired.

The male was shot in the arm once, said Wagnon.

The female passenger took over driving and took the wounded man to the hospital.

Neither victim’s wounds are believed to be life-threatening.

Wagnon said that the police planned to provide extra patrols in neighborhoods that police felt would be at risk of further gang violence.

He added that police would also be adding additional patrols to areas around schools to keep an eye on potential gang activity.

Monrovia High School Principal Frank Zepeda said that though he is vigilant about the dangers that gangs could pose to his students, gang activity is not prevalent in the school.

“This is an ongoing problem in parts of the community,” said Zepeda. “Thank God, it hasn’t come to our campus.”

(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2105

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