13 Die in Four Days of Violence
Police are investigating 13 possible homicides that have taken place since Friday, which would bring the Los Angeles toll this year to 592, surpassing the number slain in the city all of last year and reaching the highest annual total since 1996, authorities said Monday.
“We had a particularly violent weekend in the city,” said Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton. He recently warned that the city could become the homicide capital of the United States by the end of 2002.
The deaths were in addition to five shootings by LAPD police officers, two of them fatal, including one by an officer who has been involved in two other shootings since 1999.
Speaking at a news conference on the homeless, Bratton said the department needs to review the cases involving officers.
“We have to reinforce officer decision-making in how they decide to use force,” Bratton said. “We certainly want to make sure they were in policy.”
Historically, the high point for killings in Los Angeles was 1,092 in 1992. The low point in recent years came in 1998 when 419 homicides were reported, according to the LAPD.
Police said they are concerned about the latest wave of violence in a year in which the city’s homicide rate has steadily climbed for three years.
Most of the killings were in South Los Angeles. At least seven are believed to have been gang-related. Nine victims died from gunshot wounds and two from stabbings. The other two may have been fatally beaten.
“The department considers these to be serious incidents that affect quality of life in the city,” said LAPD spokesman Jack Richter.
After five slayings in South Los Angeles on the weekend of Nov. 9, Bratton announced he would beef up the police presence in South-Central, in cooperation with other federal, state and local police agencies, as well as Metropolitan Division officers.
But Bratton warned that police abuse, racism or disrespect for civil liberties would not be tolerated.
On Saturday, Officer Tommy Thompson shot a suspect for the third time in his 6-year LAPD career. Thompson and a partner told investigators that they had stopped suspected car thieves at 52nd Place and 52nd Street. Thompson told investigators that the driver tried to run him over, and he fired his weapon.
The car crashed into a tree, killing two passengers, both juveniles. The juveniles, who had been shot in the knee and the hand, died as a result of the crash, police said.
It is not the first time Thompson has cited the fear of being hit by a car after discharging a firearm. In May 1999, he fired a shotgun at a car that a 16-year-old was driving at him. The juvenile was not injured.
Thompson shot a suspect in the neck in 2000 after his partner warned that he had lost control of his gun.
Both the 1999 and 2000 shootings were found to be justified by then-Chief Bernard C. Parks.
In a second officer-involved shooting, at 7 p.m. Friday, Officers Kimberly De Losh and James McCarthy shot and killed a man in Wilmington after he allegedly rammed his truck into their police car several times.
Two hours later, Officers Don Byeon and Timothy Kim, two veteran officers, shot a man running from a carport where another man had been shot. Both men were seriously wounded.
In the fourth case, police exchanged gunfire with unknown assailants at 4 a.m. Saturday near Broadway and 108th Street. No injuries were reported.
Finally, authorities said, LAPD Officer Todd Bogart fatally shot an unarmed car-theft suspect Sunday afternoon.
Bogart and a partner had stopped a stolen car on Wall Street when the driver backed up toward the officers’ car and refused to stop.
Among those who were slain over the weekend was John Henry Smith, 33, who was shot after he denied a man entry into a rave party in the 6000 block of South Broadway Avenue. The gunman shot the security guard once in the face. Smith died at King-Drew Medical Center.
Also fatally shot was Moreno Eliseo Rodriguez, who police believe was ambushed early Sunday as he left his car outside his home in the 1600 block of West 204th Street.
An unidentified 30-year-old man lost his life Saturday after he tried to evade an attacker. He was stabbed with a steak knife about 4 p.m in the 600 block of South San Julian Street. Police believe the victim and assailant had fought with their fists.
Police said Willie Yee Alfonso, 27, was gunned down in the 500 block of North Wilton Place in a gang-related attack on a Hollywood street Sunday morning as he walked with friends not far from his home.
About 6:30 p.m. Sunday, a man stabbed in the chest was dumped from a vehicle at the Humphrey Medical Center in the 5800 block of South Main Street.
As the body was being dumped, three men were shot, one fatally, in the Jefferson Park area, police said.
At about 2:30 p.m. Monday, two men were shot to death in an alley in the 1300 block of 13th Street in San Pedro. Police said they were searching for three people who fled in a burgundy sport utility vehicle.
At 8 p.m, a man was shot in the head in the 700 block of North Kingsley Drive in Hollywood. He ran a few blocks, collapsed and died, authorities said. Police said the shooter, a man, was in a red Toyota driven by a woman.
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Four days of bloodshed
Los Angeles recorded a spate of violent killings in recent days. A listing of incidents by day, time, location, sex, age and force used in attack:
11:20 p.m., 800 block of East Manchester Blvd., male, 39, gunshot
4 p.m., 600 block of South San Julian Street, male, 30, stabbed
Midnight, 400 block of East 41st Street, 49, male, stabbed
12:30 a.m., 6000 block of South Broadway Avenue, male, 33,
3 a.m., 5000 block of Compton Avenue, male, 28, gunshot*
3:43 a.m., West 204th Street, 28, male, gunshot
7:04 a.m., 2700 block of Whittier Blvd., female, 45, possible
10:25 p.m., 500 block of North Wilton Place, 27, male, multiple gunshots
6:30 p.m., 2500 block of South Raymond Avenue, 29, male, gunshot
10:30 p.m., 1200 block of Cypress Avenue, 1, female, possible
About 2:30 p.m., West 13th and Mesa streets, two males, gunshot
8 p.m., man killed in drive-by, 700 block of North Kingsley Drive
*Coroner’s officials uncertain of shooting location.
**Investigated as a possible homicide.
Source: Los Angeles Police Department
Researched by Times graphics reporter Daryl Strickland