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Gunmen Kill 1, Hurt 3 in Westminster : Crime: The two open fire in a crowded, popular cafe. A 16-year-old boy is left paralyzed in the midnight attack that police believe is gang-related.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two gunmen strode into a crowded cafe just before midnight Saturday and opened fire, killing a 20-year-old Garden Grove man and wounding a 16-year-old boy and two 19-year-old women, police said Sunday.

Police believe the shootings were gang-related because of the killers’ brazen attack at a popular nightspot as well as the absence of any other apparent motive.

It was the third shooting at a Westminster restaurant in less than a year.

The latest victim, according to police, was Le Quan Nguyen, who died from multiple gunshot wounds.

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Another bullet struck a 16-year-old Santa Ana boy in the back, leaving him paralyzed, Sgt. Dave Stronach said. The boy remained in critical condition at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center on Sunday.

Two 19-year-old women, one shot in the elbow and the other in the knee, were listed in good condition Sunday at Garden Grove Medical Center.

Police refused to identify the survivors, saying the victims did not want their names disclosed.

“We’ll do whatever we can to try to get them to cooperate” with the investigation, Stronach said.

According to police, the attack occurred at the Cafe Mozart, a small coffee shop in a strip shopping mall in the 7900 block of Westminster Boulevard near Beach Boulevard. The cafe is a popular hangout for young people who come to listen to the jukeboxes and karaoke and play the video machines. Just before midnight, police said, two men walked in, armed with handguns, and began firing in several directions. The four people who were shot were in different parts of the cafe and police said they do not know why they were singled out.

The gunmen fled after the shooting and were still at large Sunday, police said. Both men were described as Vietnamese males, 19 to 20 years old, wearing baseball caps.

On Sunday, a sign in Vietnamese said the cafe would be temporarily closed. Several chairs were overturned and abandoned drinks remained on some of the round cocktail tables.

According to police, 18 people were inside the coffee shop at the time of the shooting but none knew what prompted the attack.

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“They can’t describe anybody,” Stronach said. “The victims and everyone, they all say they don’t know anything.”

Stronach said police suspect the shooting was gang-related.

“That’s the style--to go through the front door guns ablazing,” he said. “There’s no other motive.”

Meanwhile, some city officials sought to downplay the incident.

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“Gang violence is a problem in every city,” City Councilman Craig Schweisinger said.


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