Gang Members Shoot Father, 5-Year-Old

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Northeast Los Angeles man and his 5-year-old son were shot and wounded last week when the father attempted to stop several young gang members from painting graffiti on a wall in his neighborhood, police said.

The man suffered a superficial gunshot wound to his right shoulder Friday when four Latino youths attacked him in the 1300 block of North Edgemont Street near Fountain Avenue, said Northeast Division Detective James McCann.

"This was a 45-year-old man who simply told these kids to stop defacing property," McCann said. "Apparently he had no idea what he was dealing with."

His son, shot once in the left hip, was listed in stable condition at Childrens Hospital, McCann said. Police would not identify either victim.

Three suspects--ages 13, 14 and 15--were arrested Monday and Tuesday. Investigators are still looking for the fourth suspect, a 21-year-old gang member, McCann said. Police would not release his name.

The father was walking on Edgemont with his child in his arms about 10:10 p.m. when he saw the four spray-painting graffiti on the wall of an auto-body repair shop, said Lt. Richard LeGarra, head of detectives at the Northeast Division.

When the man asked them to stop, the youths hit him on the head with a spray-paint can and a crutch. The 15-year-old then drew a semiautomatic pistol and shot him, LeGarra said. The bullet grazed the man's right shoulder and struck his son, who still was in his father's arms.

The 15-year-old and 13-year-old youths are also suspected of breaking into a house on Edgemont last week and stealing about $1,000 in electronic equipment and cash, McCann said.

The three youths are being held at the Eastlake Juvenile Detention Center.

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