Children Removed After Slaying

Times Staff Writers

County child-welfare officials Thursday removed two children from the Compton homes where a 7-year-old boy was shot to death this week, police said.

The children had been living with numerous relatives in a pair of bullet-riddled houses that Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials called “a crash pad for known gang members.”

The houses in the 14500 block of South Harris Avenue were the site of two fatal shootings this month.

On Monday about 8 a.m., Horace Ray Ferguson Jr., 7, was shot repeatedly in the frontyard as occupants of the house engaged in a gun battle with three men who had driven up and opened fire. The boy died Monday afternoon.

An 18-year-old relative was shot to death in front of the house Jan. 2., and a 19-year-old relative was fatally shot while walking nearby Nov. 27.

As recently as two days before the 7-year-old was shot, a member of the household was arrested on suspicion of firing a shotgun on the property.

Sheriff’s deputies accompanied a social worker from the county Department of Children and Family Services to the houses on Thursday at about 2 p.m.

The social worker interviewed the family and concluded that the two children should be taken to live with an aunt, a deputy said.

Members of the household had said Tuesday that five children still lived there.

Sheriff’s records show that deputies have been called to the property at least 27 times in the last two years, for such matters as alleged domestic disturbances, possible drug sales and a 2001 arrest on suspicion of drug possession.

Child-welfare workers had visited the location in October 2000 but did not find it necessary to remove any children.

No arrests have been made in any of the fatal shootings involving members of the family.