Los Angeles and Santa Monica police are searching for suspects in connection with two separate shootings less than a day apart that left one man dead and three others injured.
Police say they are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the suspects involved in the two gang-related shootings in Mar Vista and Santa Monica on October 25th and 26th respectively. Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Pacific detective Mike DePasquale said there is a possibility that the two crimes may be connected but police have not confirmed if they are related.
While residents of the local communities have raised concerns of a possible gang battle occurring in the area, DePasquale disputed claims of a “gang war” taking place. The two recent incidents are in no way connected to the fatal shooting of Adam Pacheco following the Abbot Kinney Festival in Venice last month, he said.
Los Angeles police said Guillermo Lopez, 25, and a 19-year-old friend were walking in a parking lot near Washington Place and Wade Street in Mar Vista at about 8:15 p.m. October 25th, when they were approached by two possible gang members. The suspects, described as Hispanic men, were allegedly armed with handguns and asked Lopez and his friend where they were from.
When the two men said they were not gang members, the suspects allegedly fired multiple shots at them and drove away in a gray four-door Honda northbound on Wade Street, police said. Lopez was struck multiple times and was pronounced dead at the scene. The second victim, who was also struck multiple times, was treated at a local hospital and released, DePasquale said.
The two victims, who are not gang members, lived near the scene of the crime, he said.
The first suspect in the Mar Vista shooting is described as five-feet-five, 180 pounds, 18 to 20 years old, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and blue pants, police said. The second suspect is described as five-feet-nine, 150 pounds, 18 to 20 years old, of dark complexion and wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with black pants.
DePasquale could not confirm reports that the two suspects claimed to be from Santa Monica.
Less than a day later, at 5:29 p.m. October 26th, a Santa Monica Police Department traffic service officer reported hearing gunshots at Kansas Avenue and Cloverfield Boulevard, near Virginia Avenue Park in Santa Monica.
When police arrived at the scene they found a 17-year-old boy who had a gunshot wound in the lower body. Officers then searched an apartment building in the 2000 block of Cloverfield Boulevard and found another 17-year-old boy with a gunshot wound in the lower body, Sgt. David Hunscke said. Both victims, who are believed by police to be gang members, were taken to local hospitals for treatment, Hunscke said.
While police searched the apartment for any additional victims, they located a wanted parolee who barricaded himself in an upstairs room with his girlfriend. The two, who were not connected to the shooting incident, surrendered peacefully and were taken into custody, Hunscke said.
Police are continuing to search for the gang-related shooting suspects, who are described only as men wearing hooded sweatshirts who fled in a silver sedan eastbound on Kansas Avenue, Hunscke said. No weapons were recovered.
The incident came after an anonymous witness reported a gunshot in the 1800 block of 16th Street in Santa Monica at 11:05 p.m. October 24th. Hunscke said police found no evidence of a shooting at the scene.
Oscar de la Torre, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board president and executive director of the Pico Youth and Family Center, said the two youths who were injured in the October 26th shooting are Santa Monica High School students. While police allege the victims have gang affiliation, de la Torre said at least one of them was not known to be a gang member.
He said victims of shootings in the city tend to be portrayed as gang members and noted that was not the case with the last three homicide victims in Santa Monica.
“These are innocent young men who are not involved in violence or gang activity,” de la Torre said.
Hunscke said Santa Monica Police Chief Tim Jackman has directed additional resources to the Pico Neighborhood in response to the recent shooting.
Anyone with additional information regarding the Mar Vista shooting is asked to contact LAPD Pacific detectives at (310) 482-6316, or (310) 482-6349. Santa Monica police ask anyone with additional information to contact detectives at (310) 458-8451 or the watch commander at (310) 458-8427.