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KING CASE AFTERMATH: A CITY IN CRISIS : To Davis, Riots Get Personal : Shooting: Strawberry’s brother, a policeman, is wounded. That brings the reality home to both Dodger outfielders.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Eric Davis said that, even though friends, relatives and even his business were affected by the rioting in South-Central Los Angeles, none of it seemed real until he received the phone call early Friday morning.

It was from Darryl Strawberry, who was distraught because his brother Michael, a Los Angeles policeman, had been shot while on duty.

“Darryl was saying, ‘Why my brother?’ ” Davis said. “All of a sudden, everything was very hard for me to explain.”

Michael Strawberry was one of three police officers who sustained minor injuries when their car was fired upon Friday during the rioting. The officers were struck by fragments from bullets fired at their police car in South-Central Los Angeles about 9 a.m.

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Strawberry, 32, and the other two men were treated at Daniel Freeman Hospital in nearby Inglewood and released.

While Darryl Strawberry could not be reached for comment, Davis said that he and his best friend and Dodger teammate will not turn their backs on their South-Central roots.

“Michael is a gamer, that’s why he was out in that police car,” Davis said. “That’s the way we feel about the place. It is my heritage. I cannot just forget about it.”

Davis said he was given a message when the custom interiors business owned by him and Strawberry on 84th Street and Broadway was the only building on the block not burned.

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“The liquor store was gone, the fast food store was gone . . . and we were still standing,” Davis said. “There must be a reason they did not touch it . . . that showed us something.”

That building will apparently become a symbol of Davis and Strawberry’s commitment to the area.

“There is no way we are leaving there,” Davis said. “Why should we run? To let whoever burned the other buildings know they’ve won?”

Davis said that he and Strawberry will also continue their celebrated winter workouts at Harvard Park, in the heart of the South-Central district. The players do as much teaching as working at those sessions, which attract young players from throughout the area.

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“We’ve been going down there 12 years, and what we do has nothing to do with gangs,” Davis said. “Nobody has ever tried to hurt us or take anything away from us. I think they all realize what we are trying to do. I don’t see why that would change.”

Neither Davis’ or Strawberry’s immediate families still live in the South-Central district, so most of their worry has involved friends and distant relatives. Until Friday morning.

Michael Strawberry, two years older than Darryl, is a former minor league outfielder with the Dodgers and the role model who often kept Darryl away from gangs as they were growing up without a man in the house.

“Michael was my rock,” Strawberry once said of his brother, who often visits Darryl in the Dodger clubhouse after games.

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