A 6-year-old girl was shot and killed when a youth fired into a group of children at a birthday party in South-Central Los Angeles on Saturday night.
Two other children at the party, held in the courtyard pool area of a 20-unit apartment building, were wounded.
The dead girl, Natalie Faine, was shot after the 17-year-old suspect got into an argument with Natalie's uncle, who had scolded him for kicking the child, police said.
Natalie had traveled from her home in Pomona to celebrate the August birthdays of her aunt and several cousins, said the aunt, Ann Aldridge.
The suspect, who lives four blocks away, was kicking Natalie, Aldridge said, then traded punches with the uncle, who had told him to leave.
"Don't be here when I get back," the suspect told the uncle, Aldridge recalled.
About 20 minutes later, the youth returned to the complex at 10500 S. Vermont Ave. with a double-barreled shotgun, Police Sgt. Clarence Jackson said. From the courtyard, he fired two shots toward the second-story balcony outside Aldridge's apartment, where the uncle and several children were standing, police said.
The shots missed the uncle, Norvell Aldridge, but Natalie was hit in the head and died at the scene.
Tyren Blow, 14, who lives in the building, was critically wounded in the head and was on a respirator at Martin Luther King-Drew Medical Center on Sunday, his mother said.
A pellet grazed the arm of an 11-year old girl.
On Sunday, a "Happy Birthday" banner was still strung to the fence around the swimming pool.
"We were ready to put the meat on the (barbecue) grill," Ann Aldridge recalled. "We didn't get a chance."
Natalie "loved church, loved going to school," said another uncle, Charles Aldridge. "A person couldn't ask for more in a child."
The suspect, who was arrested at his home, was booked on suspicion of murder at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey, police said. He is believed to be a gang member and was on juvenile probation for robbery at the time of the shooting, officers said.
Residents of the complex called the suspect a "gang banger" and a "trouble child" who often roamed the building, bullying children. He had told Ann Aldridge that the building was his turf, she said.
Gang members were also believed to be responsible for the shooting death of a Long Beach boy, police said. Jose Duran, 13, was shot in the chest in front of a Long Beach house about 8:30 p.m. Saturday. There were no arrests.
In West Covina, a party ended in the death of one woman and the wounding of another late Saturday.
After some of the party-goers got into an argument, a man identified as Albert Curry, 22, of West Covina went to a car, brought back an AK-47 rifle and fired into the back yard gathering, West Covina Police Lt. Lee Rossman said.
Tina Marie Garcia, 19, of Azusa was shot in the head and died. Melissa Marie Perez, 18, of West Covina was hospitalized in stable condition with a chest wound. The women were not the intended victims, Rossman said.
Curry was arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder, and Laurence William DeWitt, 19, of La Puente was arrested on suspicion of being an accessory to murder.
In South Los Angeles, a 42-year-old man was shot to death as he drove his car on West Vernon Avenue on Saturday night, police said. Shelton Ross of Los Angeles crashed his car into a parked car after he was shot. No arrests had been made, police said.
In Gardena, Sherman Garrett, 27, of Los Angeles was shot to death late Saturday during a fight with another man, police said. No suspect had been apprehended.