2 Still Sought in Drug-Related Shootout That Killed 3 : Investigation: A wounded man is captured. Police say gunfire erupted when prospective buyers attempted to take narcotics at gunpoint.

TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Police on Saturday were still searching for two men involved in a drug-related shootout inside an apartment in the city's southeast side that left three men dead and one man injured.

The gunfight between six men took place late Friday afternoon in an apartment at 727 S. Lyon St., Police Lt. Bob Chavez said.

"All of these people were in the apartment to sell narcotics," Chavez said. "They had arranged to sell a large quantity of cocaine when three prospective buyers came to the apartment and attempted to take the narcotics at gunpoint. The buyers and the sellers then began shooting at each other."

After the shootings, three of the men ran from the scene.

One man, Ignacio Montes, 19, was found with two gunshot wounds. Montes, who police said was among those selling the drugs, was arrested and taken to Western Medical Center-Santa Ana. He is a resident of Pacoima.

Found dead at the scene were Santa Ana resident Edilberto Velazquez, 31, and two other men who police have not yet been identified. Chavez said both of the unidentified victims were at the apartment to buy drugs.

Police said the apartment was being used to sell drugs but would not say under whose name it was being rented.

Police said four semiautomatic handguns used in the shootings were found in the apartment.

Neighbors at the Nantucket apartment complex gathered in the courtyard near the entrance Saturday and talked about moving to a safer place.

Barefoot children ran and tumbled on the dank, matted carpet along the complex's dark corridors. Yellow tape imprinted with "Police, Do Not Cross," greeted visitors at the front door of the apartment where the shootout occurred.

"It's been sad to see this place go down," said Andres Vasquez, a 33-year-old machinist who has lived at Nantucket for the last eight years. "I don't like it here anymore."

Vasquez said his wife's stereo was stolen from her car Thursday. During the past few years, he said, the 180-unit complex has become too dangerous for his two young sons.

Gladys Gonzalez, a 30-year-old native of Ecuador, said she had already given notice to leave the apartment next month. "There is too much noise, too much partying, and too (many) people who drink here," Gonzalez said. "I don't feel safe,"

Police are asking that anyone with any information regarding the shootings call the Police Department at (714) 647-5168 or (714) 834-4801.

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