Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Pacific Community police are continuing to search for the suspect in the shooting death of a 17-year-old Venice High School student Monday, June 5th.
Agustin Contreras, a Venice High School junior, was shot to death while he tried to protect his younger brothers in a fight on the high school faculty parking lot shortly after school ended, police said.
Police have not made any arrests in relation to the murder of Contreras and are still interviewing witnesses, LAPD Pacific Detective Mike DePasquale said.
The alleged shooter, who is described as a black man approximately 18 to 25 years old with short hair, is not believed to be a student at Venice High School, police said.
LAPD officers have been on campus as a precaution in the week after the shooting, and the police presence will probably remain until the end of the school year, DePasquale said.
City Councilman Bill Rosen-dahl has called for a $50,000 reward and for expanded gang diversion programs in his district.
Rosendahl has introduced two motions to the City Council. The first seeks approval for a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killers of Contreras.
The second motion calls on a host of city agencies to identify additional funding for anti-gang programs in the neighborhoods around Venice High School.
Rosendahl’s motions are expected to be voted on by the full City Council this week.
“We need to do right by Agustin Contreras,” Rosendahl said. “We must find the perpetrators of this heinous crime and bring them to justice.
“At the same time, we need to stop the cycle of senseless violence that took his life. To do that, we must offer more opportunities to at-risk youths to lure them away from gangs.”
Rosendahl’s motions came a day after he held a Town Hall meeting at the Oakwood Recreation Center, which drew about a 100 people.
Rosendahl said the meeting Tuesday, June 6th, mourned the death of Contreras, but also drew attention to community frustration with local police and with a dearth of jobs and opportunities for at-risk youths.
In addition to calling for additional funds for gang diversion programs, Rosendahl’s second motion also:
n directs city officials to prepare an exhaustive list of job training and youth employment programs and promote them to youths in Venice, Del Rey, and neighboring communities;
n directs the Community Development Department to find ways to provide training in fundraising and grant writing for community groups steering young people away from gangs;
n directs the Human Relations Commission to work with LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) and local organizations to help quiet tensions and prevent retaliatory attacks; and
n directs city agencies to work with LAUSD and community groups to create a “Safe Passages” program for Venice High, Mark Twain Middle School and other local campuses.
Rosendahl said it was important to focus city resources on at-risk youths, particularly in Oakwood and in the Culver-Slauson area of Del Rey.
“Too often, people forget or ignore those young people who live in the shadows of the affluence on the Westside,” Rosendahl said. “Our communities have so much.
“We need to share our resources and offer hope and positive opportunity to all our young people.”
Since the shooting, Rosendahl says he has spoken frequently with LAPD officials for in-depth briefings on the criminal investigation and he has offered the LAPD any support necessary to help find the suspects.