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Youth Killed in Attack by Sports Rivals

A once-friendly rivalry between two groups of football-playing teen-agers in Echo Park turned into violence late Friday when a 17-year-old boy was savagely attacked and killed by his former sports pals, police said.

The dead youth, Robert Wolner, “just didn’t run fast enough,” homicide Detective Jim Bright said.

Several suspects, all males ranging in age from 17 to 19, are in custody. One will probably be charged with murder, police said.

‘Didn’t Run Fast Enough’

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According to Bright, the victim was sitting with two other members of a band of flag football players in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven store when about 15 to 20 members of a rival football group approached. Bright said one group chased the three rivals and “unfortunately one of them (Wolner) didn’t run fast enough.”

The youth was beaten, stoned and stabbed to death in an alley near the store. Police said the assailants used a variety of weapons, including rocks, clubs and knives.

The attack took place shortly before midnight and Wolner, whom Bright described as “a young working man” and part-time high school student, was pronounced dead about 20 minutes later at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center.

One other youth was slightly injured in the melee.

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