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Police suspect gang rivalry in two Watts shootings 20 minutes apart

Two drive-by shootings, 20 minutes apart, less than two miles away in Watts: Police suspect gang rivalry

Two men were wounded, one critically, in drive-by shootings that took place 20 minutes apart Thursday in Watts, authorities said. 

The first shooting occurred near 108th Street and Gorman Avenue about 5:40 p.m., said Sgt. Scott Stevens of the Los Angeles Police Department. A 19-year-old man was walking down the street when two vehicles pulled up next to him and the passengers opened fire, striking him in the neck and the leg.

The victim, who is a suspected member of the Watts Colonial gang, is hospitalized in critical condition, Stevens said. 

The second shooting occurred 20 minutes later in the 9500 block of Holmes Avenue, less than two miles away. The second victim, a suspected member of the Watts Barrio Grape Street gang, was standing in front of his residence when a car pulled up and someone inside began to shoot, Stevens said.

The 23-year-old man was struck in the leg and taken to a hospital in stable condition.

No weapons were recovered from either crime scene, and police are still searching for suspects. The victims were believed to be members of rival gangs and Stevens, a former gang officer for that area, believes that the second shooting was retaliation for the first. 

"We don't know that they are related, but I'm putting two and two together," he said. 

There have been 14 homicides in Watts over the last 12 months, according to the Los Angeles Times Homicide Report. That makes Watts the fourth most deadly neighborhood in the county.

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