Police Ask for Help to Find Slaying Suspect
Los Angeles police sought help from the public Friday in locating a 17-year-old suspected of fatally shooting a Crenshaw High School basketball player -- one of 18 people killed within the last week, mostly in South Los Angeles.
Los Angeles police officials also announced Friday that the city has had 606 homicides so far this year -- 10 more than The Times previously reported on the basis of information from police officials.
Police Sgt. John Pasquariello said crime statistics are often revised throughout the year.
“Some things are reclassified as homicides that were not originally, sometimes people who were injured die,” Pasquariello said.
The new total moves the city over the threshold of 600 for the first time since 1996, when 707 homicides were reported. Los Angeles had a peak of 1,092 homicides in 1992, the year of the riots, but then saw the number fall more than half by 1998.
In the last few years, however, as homicide rates have plunged in many other big cities, killings in Los Angeles have increased. They have jumped by more than 40% since a low of 428 four years ago.
In the most recent homicide in South Los Angeles, police are searching for Antwaine Butler in connection with the killing Thursday of Clyve Jackson, 14, of South Los Angeles.
Police believe Butler approached Jackson outside a doughnut shop in the 4400 block of South Western Avenue, according to Det. Kevin Jolivette.
The two, who had had a previous encounter, were fighting when Butler allegedly drew a gun and shot Jackson, Police Capt. Jim Miller said.
Miller said police identified Butler after tips from the public. He said detectives talked to Butler on Friday morning after his family paged him for police.
Butler, whom police described as armed and dangerous, refused to surrender.
On Friday, Los Angeles school officials sent crisis counselors to Crenshaw High School to help more than 100 of Jackson’s peers deal with their grief.
“He was on our basketball team and was well-received by his peers,” said Michael White, the school’s dean of students. “He was a mild-mannered young man. He was not a discipline problem.”
Jackson’s classmates, who are planning a memorial Wednesday for their friend, also used kind words to describe the ninth-grader. “A lot of people knew him,” said Leyla Rodriguez, 14. “So everybody was crying today.”
In an interview while on a 10-day trip to Asia, Mayor James K. Hahn said he is deeply disturbed by the violence in the city.
“It is a tragedy that this many people are losing their lives to violence and it has to stop,” he said.
“I can’t remember something like this in a very long time,” Hahn said.
“It’s not the middle of summer. It’s here in the middle of November. It’s a very perplexing wave of violence. You have to figure out why it’s happening and how it can stop.”
The mayor said he had urged Chief William J. Bratton to try to involve other agencies in his effort to curb the violence. He said he suggested that the chief ask the U.S. attorney’s office for assistance.
Efforts to halt a wave of homicides were also being made Friday at City Hall.
City Councilman Nate Holden, who represents the 10th City Council District, which includes parts of South Los Angeles, called for the Police Commission to revisit the compressed work schedule and senior lead officer programs to determine whether they are keeping Bratton from putting the largest possible police force on the street.
“We have had one of the bloodiest weeks in the history of Los Angeles,” Holden said before introducing a motion calling for the study.
“In order to fight crime, we must take the handcuffs off of Chief Bratton and give him the flexibility to deploy police personnel where needed.”
Holden’s criticism of the compressed work schedule was denounced as unfounded by the Police Protective League, the officers union that worked hard to establish the schedule.
“It is evident by his illogical analysis of the recent spate of tragic murders that he is once again using his disdain for flexible work schedules as a platform to get attention,” the league said in a statement.
The union said flexible work schedules promote safety by increasing officers’ morale, helping with recruitment of new officers and saving the city money on overtime.
In another development, detectives identified the victim of a shooting Thursday in a West Los Angeles neighborhood as Kareem Salguero, 23.
A witness saw a man chasing two other men about 4:35 p.m. near Sawyer Street and Preuss Road, Police Det. Ron Phillips said.
The gunman, who was overheard shouting gang terms, chased Salguero into the backyard of a home in the 1900 block of Preuss, where he was shot.
Detectives are investigating whether the death was related to a graffiti incident because they say Salguero was found with a can of spray paint.
In an unrelated case, Miller said police had charged three men in the fatal shooting Tuesday of a man at 83rd Street and Western Avenue.
The three men were attacked moments after the shooting at 76th and Western, Miller said.
Times staff writers Megan Garvey and Beth Shuster contributed to this report.