Street Shootings 4 Hours Apart Leave 2 Dead in Valley

Times Staff Writer

Two men were gunned downed on the streets of the San Fernando Valley in shootings less than two miles and four hours apart, police said Tuesday.

The first slaying occurred at 8:30 p.m. Monday when Luis Espinosa, 27, was shot at Vanowen Street and Agnes Avenue in North Hollywood while walking home from a store, police said.

Espinosa was “absolutely not a gang member” but may have been shot because of the clothing he was wearing, said Det. Mike Coffey of the Los Angeles Police Department.


“Many times I told him not to dress like that,” said Espinosa’s brother-in-law, Jesus Limon, who said the man was wearing a white T-shirt and shorts that went below his knees. “He told me he liked to dress in that style.”

Espinosa, who came to Los Angeles from Michoacan, Mexico, more than a decade ago, was described by relatives, friends and co-workers as a serious, hard-working family man.

“He was such a good, nice man,” said Raul Alvarado as he stared at the blood stain left on the street where his friend had died.

At Right on Time Moving and Storage in North Hollywood, where Espinosa worked for more than a year, supervisors and co-workers were stunned to learn of his death.

“Oh my God, no,” said Espinosa’s supervisor, Antoinette Garcia. Clutching her stomach, Garcia broke into tears. “He was like the best worker we had here. He got so many compliments from our clients.”

Garcia said Espinosa occasionally brought his 3-year-old son to work.

“He was so proud to be a father,” she said. “Everybody here, people of all cultures, they loved him.”

Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD detectives at (818) 623-4075.

In the second fatal shooting, John Dannenberg, 36, was killed shortly after midnight Tuesday morning on the 7300 block of Woodman Avenue in Van Nuys.

Police, called to the scene about 1 a.m. by neighbors, found Dannenberg dead on the street.

John Wright, a 20-year resident, said the neighborhood is beset by drug users and peddlers.

“This area is bad for drugs,” Wright said. “I’ve been offered everything from marijuana to heroin. These people are like terrorists in this neighborhood.”