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5 Arrested After Police Exchange Fire With Gangs

Two police officers drove up on a gunfight between members of rival gangs Friday night and exchanged gunfire with some of the suspects, authorities said.

Two of the suspects were wounded--apparently by rivals rather than police, Los Angeles police officials said. Those two and three other suspects were arrested.

The incident occurred about 9:55 p.m. as plainclothes vice officers Eric Martinelli, 30, and Joseph Kalyn, 27, were driving west on Sherman Way near Tampa Avenue, police said.

The officers saw the shooting and stopped. When Martinelli, a nine-year department veteran, identified himself as a police officer, one of the suspects fired at him, police said. Both Martinelli and Kalyn, a five-year veteran, returned fire.

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Three of the suspects then fled on foot, southbound, through a nearby field, police said. Two of them--including one with a gunshot wound to the upper torso--were quickly taken into custody. A third suspect was sniffed out by a police dog and apprehended a short time later.

The other suspects were arrested at a hospital, where they had gone seeking medical attention for a companion suffering a gunshot wound to the leg, police said.

The suspects were described only as three adults and two juveniles. Police said they found a semiautomatic pistol at the scene.


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