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Violence Claims Another Young Life in Rampart Division

TIMES STAFF WRITERS

“Pebbles” was a 15-year-old Westlake girl who was shot to death early Thursday by a gunman who demanded money from her.

The gunman had chosen Pebbles not for her money, witnesses said, but for revenge.

Pebbles was her gang moniker, friends said. Her true name was withheld by authorities until her family could be notified.

She had been talking with her boyfriend in front of the Stuart Hotel in the 700 block of Union Avenue at 3:20 a.m. when a car that had often been seen in the neighborhood passed by, turned around and dropped off a young passenger, witnesses said.

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According to police and witness reports, the young man went up to Pebbles and asked, “Where’s the 20?” Before she could respond, he pulled out a handgun and started shooting, striking her several times in the head and upper body. Pebbles was taken to the Hospital of the Good Samaritan, where she died, said Rampart Division Police Lt. Doc Warkentin. She is the third youth in the division to die violently this month, he said.

According to detectives, the killing may have been related to drugs--although Pebbles was carrying none when she was shot. Friends and residents living in the long-term, tenant hotels that line Union Avenue said Pebbles was a gang member, and like others before her, was killed as retaliation by a rival gang member.

“She died for the silliest reason in the world,” said a 30-year-old man, who identified himself as the boyfriend standing with Pebbles when she was shot. He declined to give his name. The gunman wasn’t after money, he said; “She died for some (thing) that her homeboys did.” The boyfriend also declined to say what precipitated the killing, only that “she had nothing to do with it.”

Mandy Birseno, 11, who has lived in the neighborhood for two months, said she often saw the 4-foot-6, 105-pound Pebbles, who was known as a giggly teen-ager with curly brown hair and a pigeon-toed gait.

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Birseno said she did not know where the slain girl lived. “I think she stayed with different friends,” Birseno said. By late Thursday, detectives had yet to find anyone in Pebbles’ family.

The boyfriend, too, said Pebbles did not live with her family. But he was speaking of the gang that people said she belonged to when he added, “She was an Orphan.”


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