A shift in gang tactics means drive-bys are giving way to walk-ups, observers say

Nicole Santa Cruz | LA Times | Homicide Report
Posted March 27, 2015, 5 a.m.

gang walk up shooting shiftRicardo Nunez was trimming a tree outside his Echo Park home on a Sunday morning last month when a white truck pulled up and a person inside opened fire, killing the 35-year-old father.

Ray Martinez, the LAPD detective investigating the case, is seeing fewer such fatal drive-by shootings. When Martinez goes behind the yellow tape, he’s more commonly working on cases where a gunman has walked straight up to the victim — a walk-up shooting.

As gang culture has become less overt, the killings have become more targeted — and at the same time more chilling.

“They get to see the whole reaction,” Martinez said. “It seems more daring.”

Jorja Leap, a UCLA anthropologist who studies gang culture, agreed. “In a walk-up, you see who you’re killing,” Leap said. “You’re going to listen to what they say as you shoot them.”

Fatal drive-by shooting statistics were not publicly available from the LAPD, and there are no recent national statistics. But Leap sees a shift in how gangs operate.

Once known for street intimidation, gang colors and the violence made famous in the movie “Boyz n the Hood,” over the years black and Latino gangs have had truces to stop drive-by shootings. In 1993, the Mexican Mafia prison gang — known by police as “La Eme” — ordered thousands of Latino gang members to halt them.

In the 21st century, Leap said, gangs have become more strategic and focus more on criminal business enterprise — where the most money can be made.

“Drive-bys just don’t work as well,” she said. “When you do a drive-by, that’s where you have the greatest sense of inaccuracy.

“Gangs want to survive,” she added, “and gangs want to put their work in.”

A high-profile shooting can taint their business dealings.

“Nobody is going to buy dope from them; everybody is going to stay away from them when the police are all over them,” Martinez said.

He pointed to a 2007 shooting in which a 23-day-old boy was struck and killed after gang members targeted a street vendor who refused to pay a $50 “rent” near MacArthur Park. Luis Garcia was in his stroller when he was shot. The last of seven gang members convicted in the crime was sentenced in 2013 to life in prison without parole.

Read more here: http://homicide.latimes.com/post/drive-by-shootings/

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1 Comment for “A shift in gang tactics means drive-bys are giving way to walk-ups, observers say”

  1. Ginny

    Bunch of .P blank punk chickes!

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