A fatal shooting Wednesday night in San Bernardino was the city's fourth such killing in less than a week.
The latest shooting occurred about 11:30 p.m. when gunfire broke out at a strip mall tucked amid rows of mobile home communities in the 2800 block of West Rialto Avenue.
Juan Carlos Villapudua, 27, was shot in the upper torso and pronounced dead at the scene, said police spokesman Richard Lawhead. Villapudua was carrying a replica handgun at the time, Lawhead said.
Witnesses told police Villapudua was speaking with someone in a newer model, white Nissan with tinted windows when someone inside the car shot him.
The vehicle is known in the area and Villapudua has a history of participating in local drug activity, Lawhead said. No arrests have been made.
Villapudua's family members, however, gave a different version of events, telling KTLA that the father of five had gone to the 99 Cent Store to cash in a winning lottery ticket when he was shot outside.
The man's family was at the scene grieving Thursday morning.
The killing was the latest in what has been an especially violent week in San Bernardino.
On Tuesday, a father and daughter were shot inside their second-story apartment in the 2600 block of South Copper Lane. The father, 45-year-old Phillip Andre Jacobs Sr., was killed. His daughter survived the shooting, which appears to be gang related, according to police.
A day earlier, two men unleashed a hail of bullets on a crowd of people outside a smoke store and doughnut shop in the 300 block of East Baseline Street at about 11:15 p.m.
Orlando Wayne Hunt Jr., 24, was killed and four others were wounded. It was a “pretty large crime scene," Lawhead told the Los Angeles Times.
And on Saturday, 23-year-old Shelton Nicholas, a local resident, was shot and killed inside a boarded-up home where transients slept.
Police made an arrest in the case the next day — the only arrest so far in the string of homicides.
Despite the timing, police officials say there’s nothing to connect the incidents to each other.
“We’ve been saying to everybody that the people that are having problems with crime in this city are the people involved in illegal activities,” Lawhead said. “People involved in gangs, narcotics trafficking or associating with those people. Those are the people that are suffering.”
Though some of the victims have ties to gangs, the slayings don’t appear to be part of a larger issue, he said.
“It’s not like a new gang has moved in and we’re having a turf war,” he said.
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