At least 29 people were shot to death in Los Angeles County over the weekend, roughly six times the average number for the period, the coroner’s office said.
“It was a pretty heavy-duty weekend,” said Scott Carrier, a county coroner’s spokesman. “Usually there are about five firearm-related homicides on an average weekend.”
Although the killings were scattered across the Los Angeles metropolitan area, three of them in the northeast San Fernando Valley led police officials to speculate that a local truce among Latino gang members is falling apart. The area has experienced a more than 70% increase in gang-related crime this year.
“The truce had been holding, but it’s really been deteriorating this year,” said Lt. Joe Garcia, who heads the detective bureau at Foothill Division. “We’ve got some people working hard at the truce. Hopefully they’ll be able to get people back in the fold.”
Details of all 29 homicides that occurred between nightfall Friday and midnight Sunday were not available, but police and county sheriff’s deputies provided the following accounts of 11 of the killings:
* A 17-year-old Arleta resident, Oscar Palis, was slain when he stopped to help friends involved in an automobile accident on a street in Pacoima. The shooting occurred after Palis and friends argued with youths in another car. No suspects were in custody, but the attack appeared to have been gang-related.
* Jesus Salazar, 24, of Pacoima was gunned down after an argument broke out at a party in the 13900 block of Louvre Street. The Salazar shooting, as well as another one that left a man dead two weeks ago, apparently involved Latino gang members killing each other. No arrests were made.
* A 20-year-old Pacoima man was shot to death in his car after a confrontation with agunman in the 1400 block of Fox Street in what may have been a gang-related incident. No arrests were made.
* A 34-year-old North Hollywood man shot a man to death and seriously injured another when they invaded his house on Miranda Street and attacked him with a club and a machete, police said. The man, whose name was not released, was watching television with his 5-year-old daughter when the attackers burst into the home. The resident grabbed a shotgun and opened fire. The identities of the intruders were not released. A motive was not immediately clear.
* David C. Hernandez, 38, was shot to death by police officers in Sylmar after he confronted them with a pistol and ignored their demands to surrender. The confrontation occurred after officers got a call about a man threatening residents with a gun.
* An unidentified man was slain in an attack in which two others were wounded at a street corner in South-Central Los Angeles. No one was arrested.
* Layfayette Odom, 23, was drinking with friends in a driveway in north Pasadena when gunfire erupted from a passing car, killing him. One of Odom’s companions was wounded in the attack, believed to be gang-related. No arrests were made.
* Forby Venzor, 26, died after a gunman on a bicycle opened fire on several pedestrians in Compton. Two of Venzor’s companions were wounded in the attack. The gunman remained at large.
* Julian Saragia, 18, was shot to death at a residence in Willowbrook. A companion suffered a minor wound. How the shooting occurred was not clear. No suspects were identified.
* Martin Romero, 25, was shot to death when confronted by rival gang members at a park in East Los Angeles. No arrests were made.
* An unidentified man was shot to death by a drive-by gunman as he stepped off a bus in East Los Angeles. No suspects were in custody.