The latest fatality in escalating gang violence in Shreveport, La., has been identified as a 24-year-old Los Angeles man who had been sought by police as a suspect in a 1988 drive-by murder in the South-Central Los Angeles area.
For the last year, police said, the suspect, Larry Alonzo Winters, had been living in Shreveport under the name “Dante Ford,” becoming one of the leaders of a Crips faction whose war with another gang is believed responsible for scores of drive-by shootings. Twelve people have been shot in the last week, five wounded in separate incidents on Monday alone.
On Tuesday night, Shreveport police said, a man identified as Ford was shot through the heart by a 9-millimeter round fired from a passing Cadillac. A 15-year-old boy, standing nearby in front of a gang hangout, was wounded in the foot.
Authorities said Thursday that a fingerprint check and a records search through the Los Angeles police gang computer determined that the dead man was Winters--a member of the 52nd Street Hoover Crips.
Winters, police said, was the chief suspect in the 1988 Halloween night killing of a rival gang member and the wounding of four others in South-Central Los Angeles. “What goes around comes around,” Los Angeles Police Detective Erin Brown said of Winters’ death.
Authorities theorized that Winters, an escapee from a California Juvenile Corrections facility, fled to Shreveport soon after the shooting in Los Angeles.
For officials in Shreveport, it was additional evidence of the importation of gang problems from Southern California. Although gang members from Los Angeles have been occasionally found there over the last several years, authorities in the northern Louisiana oil city debated for a year or so whether groups calling themselves Bloods and Crips were offshoots of Los Angeles gangs or local youths imitating characters in the movie “Colors.”
Last March, however, four teen-agers were wounded in a drive-by shooting and, by the end of 1989, several drive-bys were being reported each week. In December, a 19-year-old man became the first fatality, shot down while leaving the local hangout of the Rolling 60s faction of the Crips. Police said the Hoover Crips--of which Winters was a leader--were responsible.
The drive-by incidents became more frequent last month--seven reported in one three-day period. Also in January, $1 million worth of crack cocaine was discovered in a Federal Express packet sent from Los Angeles to Shreveport.
While some of the shootings have been over control of drug-selling areas, police said, most are for revenge, “tit-for-tat stuff,” Shreveport Detective Don Ashley said. “They’re been warring back and forth for some time, but it has escalated.”
“We always had known known him by his nickname, ‘Bam,’ ” Ashley said of Winters. “People had been talking about him for a year.”
Police are on the alert for more shootings in the wake of his killing, Ashley said.