Deadliest Weekend of Year Ends With 24 Killed in County

The bloodiest weekend of the year ended with at least 24 people shot or stabbed to death in Los Angeles County, evoking grim reminders of a similar weekend last August in which 28 people were murdered, police said Monday.

"It's not the highest (total) we've ever had, but it's significantly higher" than normal, Lt. John Dunkin, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman, said of the 16 violent deaths within that agency's jurisdiction.

Homicide investigators who initially regarded a West Hollywood murder as a possible hate crime changed that assessment Monday after learning that the two suspects may have been involved in a series of robberies in recent weeks, said Deputy Diane Hecht of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

It was thought at first that Mauricio Bassa, 32, was shot to death on the street early Saturday morning in a gay-bashing incident, Hecht said. Bassa's 27-year-old companion was struck on the head with a gun but survived, the deputy said.

LAPD detectives probing the death of Kerry Jones, who was celebrating his 33rd birthday at a South-Central Los Angeles nightclub, said the likely motive for the shooting early Sunday morning was revenge by party crashers who were not allowed entry.

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