Police Arrest 1,092 in Weekend Sweeps; Gang Killings Continue

Times Staff Writer

A Los Angeles police task force made more than 1,000 arrests over the weekend in its crusade to cut down on gang activities.

But just hours after Operation Hammer ended its sweeps early Sunday, two young men were killed--suspected victims of gang violence.

Task force officers patrolled the central and eastern parts of the city and the San Fernando Valley between about 6 p.m. and 3:30 a.m. on both weekend nights.


Of the 1,092 people arrested, 629 were gang members, police said. Saturday night yielded 624 arrests, and 345 of the people belonged to gangs. On Friday, officers arrested 468 people, 288 of them gang members.

Most of the suspects were arrested for investigation of misdemeanors, ranging from drunk driving to possession of narcotics to curfew violations.

In addition, police seized 18 guns, 16 of them owned by gang members.

Gang-related violence later erupted in other parts of the city.

Nelson R. Alas, 15, was shot and killed in Hollywood on Sunday morning after he exchanged words with several known gang members, Los Angeles Police Detective Bill Humphry said. Alas, an admitted street gang member, was dead at the scene.

Another young man, who also associated with known gang members, was killed at about the same time in the 25500 block of Marigold Avenue near Harbor City, Los Angeles Police Sgt. Tony Rosa said. The victim’s name was withheld.

No arrests have been made in either shooting.

At least eight other people were victims of gang-related shootings over the weekend, including a 25-year-old man killed in Pacoima just one hour after the task force finished its first-night sweep.

The man, whose name was not released, was killed by a bullet from a passing car as he sat on a curb in the 10300 block of Amboy Avenue at about 2:45 a.m. Saturday, Los Angeles Police Sgt. Al Yarborough said.


Weekend sweeps aimed at interrogating and arresting suspected gang members began in early 1988.

Police Chief Daryl F. Gates nicknamed the special operation “The Hammer,” saying they were designed to make life for gang members miserable. The sweeps also attempt to deter crime by increasing police visibility in neighborhoods.