Drive-by Shooting Leaves One Dead

Drive-by Shooting Leaves One Dead, November 21, 2002

LOS ANGELES —A man was shot and killed today in a walk-up attack, the sixth homicide along a stretch of Western Avenue in South Los Angeles in the last two weeks, according to police.

The shooting outside 4417 S. Western Ave. was reported at 4 p.m., said Los Angeles police Sgt. John Pasquariello. The victim, who according to a TV report was shot in the head, was about 18, another sergeant said.

Some of his relatives or friends showed up, and one woman appeared to be hysterical with grief.

A vehicle possibly used in the attack was recovered about 10 blocks away, but it was unclear whether any suspects were in custody.

The Western Avenue attacks, mostly gang-related, are testing the mettle of new police Chief Bill Bratton.

He has asked the community to join police to end the violence, and has empowered station-level commanders to mobilize offers and detectives in response to such violent outbreaks.

“I’m very disturbed and angry,” Bratton told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published today. “I need this city angry about gangbangers shaping the perception of Los Angeles.”

In a 35-minute span Tuesday night, seven individuals were shot, one fatally, bringing the number of people killed within city boundaries south of the Santa Monica (10) Freeway to 17 since Friday.

The first attack occurred at West 83rd Street and South Western Avenue at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, when a teenager was fatally shot, said police Officer Jason Lee.

The coroner’s office identified the victim as Ernest D. Williams, 17. He died of multiple gunshots to the head.

Two miles away, a woman and two men were shot at West 66th Street and South Vermont Avenue at 7:10 that night, Lee said. They were taken to hospitals and are expected to recover.

Five minutes later, three men were shot at West 76th Street and South Western Avenue, Lee said. Two of those victims were hospitalized in critical condition.

Police Capt. Jim Miller said that shooting was in retaliation for the one at 83rd Street, and at least two of the victims at 76th Street were being investigated.

“Those victims in that shooting appear to be suspects in the (Williams shooting) at 83rd and Western,” he said. “They are not in custody for the homicide last night. However, we believe they are responsible for that crime.”

All the other victims appeared to be in their 20s, Lee said. Police said two of the three attacks Tuesday appeared to be gang-related.

Including today’s shooting, at least 593 people have been slain in Los Angeles so far this year, the most since 1996, although well below the city’s all-time high of 1,092 homicides in 1992, according to police.

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