An 18-year-old man was killed in an apparent gang-related shooting in Pomona early Sunday.
Jenesis Daniel Lopez was tagging several buildings near the 900 block of E. Holt Aveue with another individual when he was confronted by two suspects, according to authorities.
One suspect pulled out a gun and shot Lopez, who was identified by coroner officials, multiple times in the alley. Police received a 911 call about 2:20 a.m. reporting the shooting.
Lopez was found in the alley south of Holt and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The killing was Pomona’s first of 2014, according to Pomona police Lt. Eddie Vazquez.
Killings jumped from 17 to 29 in 2013, a 70% increase, in the city of 150,000 people on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, according to records released last week.
The city has dealt with gang problems for years, but killings over the last two decades have steadily dropped.
Pomona recorded 11 homicides in 2011 and 17 in 2012. Officials say the 2013 total of 29 is the highest since the 1990s.
"We cringe every time there is a homicide," said Pomona police Capt. Michael Olivieri, who joined the department a year after the city saw a record 44 homicides in 1989. "We are not pleased. It is not acceptable. We believe we're going to suppress it."
Two factors appear to be contributing to Pomona's problems: violence between young people from warring street gangs and a depleted police force.
According to the city, the number of sworn officers in the department has declined by about 50 since 2010 due to budget cuts.
Police attribute many of the homicides to rising gang violence in certain sections of the city.
Anyone with information is urged to call the Pomona Police Department’s Detective Bureau at (909) 620-2085. Anonymous tips can be left at (800) 222-8477.