A Los Angeles police officer was wounded and a man was killed Saturday night in Panorama City when police responded to a domestic disturbance a few blocks from the site of an anti-crime march held earlier in the day.
Police did not release the name of the female officer, who suffered a minor gunshot wound to the elbow, nor that of the man killed when he exchanged gunfire with police. No other details of the shooting, which occurred just before 8:30 p.m. in the 14600 block of Rayen Street, were available.
The officer was in good condition Saturday night at Holy Cross Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.
The shootings occurred a few blocks from the route of a Saturday morning anti-crime march, and near a corner where police Friday night had arrested 22 people for trying to buy drugs.
About 40 residents took part in the march in North Hills in one of the Valley's most crime-ridden precincts.
"We have to let them know on the streets that there is somebody here," said Harry Coleman, president of the North Hills Community Coordinating Council, which helped organize the march--hoping, as Coleman put it, to show "the esprit de corps of the community."
The 1 1/2-square-mile area east of the San Diego Freeway--bounded by Nordhoff and Parthenia streets on the north and south and by Orion and Burnett streets on the west and east--accounts for about 23% of all crime in the LAPD's huge Devonshire Division, Officer Ken Cioffi said.
Nine of the 16 murders this year in the Devonshire Division have occurred in the area, three of them on Joanne Wilkinson's block of Columbus Street south of Nordhoff.
Still, said Wilkinson, who has lived in the neighborhood for 17 years, due to police help "it's getting better. It's getting much better than it was."
Residents say the neighborhood in the shadow of the freeway began to decline in the late 1980s, as drug dealers set up shop along the sidewalks in front of crowded apartment buildings. Drug buyers commute into the region from all over the Valley, Cioffi said.
Friday night's reverse sting on the corner of Columbus and Nordhoff netted 22 arrests, Cioffi said, and one held at the same spot two weeks ago was so successful that police made 40 arrests before they had to stop booking suspects because of understaffing.
Saturday morning, people began gathering in the parking lot of the United Methodist Church of Sepulveda, picking up Neighborhood Watch signs. They walked through the streets waving the signs and planting them on power poles.
"People are warned," 20-year-old Marcos Madero said. With the signs up, "they recognize that people are watching them."
Said Al Brown, manager of the Penny Lane School on Rayen Street: "We want to kind of turn back the clock and make it like 25 years ago, when our kids could walk across the street to school and not get recruited" by drug dealers.
Brown said the North Hills branch of Penny Lane--a school for emotionally disturbed children, some of whom have drug problems--would stand its ground. "Where are we going to run to? We can keep running, but eventually it'll come to us," he said.
Linda Damou, her daughter Tammy, and Tammy's daughter Tara all walked down Rayen--each generation carrying a Neighborhood Watch sign. "Come join us!" Linda Damou called to people who peered out the windows of their apartments or stopped on the street to watch the marchers. "If you care, you'll be here!"
John and Anabel Macklin also brought their two sons, ages 2 and 4, "because the neighborhood is getting real bad," John said. "We need to clean it up for them."