3 Freed, 4 Still Hunted in Westwood Gang Shooting

Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles police investigators Monday said that no charges will be filed against three people taken into custody during a weekend sweep that led to the arrest of Durrel DeWitt Collins, the reputed street gang member accused of fatally shooting a Long Beach woman last week in Westwood.

Lt. Gabriel E. Ornelas, who heads the West Bureau Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (CRASH) unit that investigated the murder of Karen Toshima, 27, said that an adult and two youths who were arrested Saturday have been released.

For the record:

12:00 a.m. Feb. 10, 1988 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday February 10, 1988 Home Edition Part 1 Page 2 Column 6 Metro Desk 2 inches; 50 words Type of Material: Correction
In an early edition Tuesday, The Times published a photograph, wrongly identified by police as that of Durrel DeWitt Collins, suspect in the gang slaying of a passerby in Westwood. The Los Angeles Police Department, which released the wrong picture to the news media, later provided the correct photo, which appeared in subsequent editions of the paper.

“We determined after interviewing them that we wouldn’t file charges against them at this time,” Ornelas said.

Four other suspects are still being sought for questioning. Police have said that 64 investigators and uniformed officers took part in the operation that led to Collins’ arrest. At least 22 guns were seized, and investigators last week recovered a .38-caliber handgun believed to be the murder weapon.

Collins was being held at the Los Angeles County Jail pending an arraignment expected today. Deputy Dist. Atty. Sandra Harris said formal murder charges would be filed before the arraignment. She also said she expects to request that Collins be held on $1-million bail.


Authorities Monday clarified earlier reports, saying Collins is 21.

Meanwhile, law enforcement officials from at least 16 police departments have agreed to attend a “summit meeting” on gang violence scheduled by county Supervisor Kenneth Hahn Thursday at the Biscailuz Center in East Los Angeles.

Coordinated Approach

“It is my hope that from this meeting will come a comprehensive, coordinated master plan for dealing with the terrible problem of gang violence throughout Los Angeles County,” said Hahn, whose district includes much of South-Central Los Angeles, where gang-related murders reached record levels last year.

Among the police agencies attending will be the county Sheriff’s Department and police departments from the cities of Baldwin Park, Bell Gardens, Compton, El Monte, Gardena, Huntington Park, LaVerne, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Monterey Park, Pasadena, Pomona, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, San Fernando and Whittier.