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Assault Rifle Toll Climbs; Holden Urges Bush Action

Times Staff Writer

Two more victims of assault rifle attacks died in Los Angeles County on Monday as City Councilman Nate Holden called for a presidential order banning the importation of the semiautomatic weapons that are increasingly favored in gang shootings.

A 21-year-old Compton man was killed early Monday in a spray of AK-47 fire as he stood along the Artesia Freeway in Long Beach, where he had stopped to help friends change a tire. Then, about 9 a.m., a Compton teen-ager died of wounds he received in a Saturday night drive-by shooting in which a 2-year-old neighbor was also killed.

Holden, who last week announced that he would pay up to $300 out of his political funds to each person who turned in a military-style assault rifle to Los Angeles Police, released a copy of a letter to President Bush urging him to outlaw imports of all automatic and semiautomatic assault rifles, many of which are made in China and Israel.

“The United States does not need to increase its trade deficit by importing these weapons of destruction,” Holden wrote.

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At a press conference held with Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates, Holden said 65 assault rifles had been turned in to the Police Department since he announced his buyback plan.

Los Angeles Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky said Monday that he plans to propose today a resolution outlawing the sale of semiautomatic weapons in Los Angeles.

In Monday’s freeway attack, three people, all from Compton, were wounded, and two of them remain hospitalized. Long Beach Police said the victims were shot after they stopped the two cars they were driving to repair a flat tire.

While they were standing on the westbound freeway shoulder, near the Orange Avenue exit, a third car pulled up and a man got out, holding an assault rifle. He fired about 30 rounds as his victims scrambled screaming down the freeway embankment and climbed over a fence to get help in a neighboring residential area.

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Long Beach Police Detective Ron Pavek described the shooting as “probably gang-related.” He said Andre L. Sims, who died on the freeway shoulder, was a member of the Crips.

Meanwhile, DeAndre Richards, 19, who had been on a life-support system at Dominguez Medical Center since he was shot twice while standing near his home on South Central Avenue in Compton Saturday night, also died Monday. Philip Fisher, Richard’s 2-year-old neighbor, was fatally wounded in the same volley of shots fired by one of two men in a passing car.


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