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After 4 homeless men shot near Ballona Wetlands, suspect is charged with attempted murder

Recreational vehicles are parked along West Jefferson Boulevard near the Ballona Wetlands.
A June 11 photo shows RVs parked along West Jefferson Boulevard near the Ballona Wetlands, where four homeless men were shot in August. A suspect has been charged.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A man described as a known gang member by Los Angeles police has been charged with four counts of attempted murder in connection with a shooting at a homeless encampment in Playa del Rey near the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve, authorities said.

LAPD officials said Tuesday that they had arrested a man in connection with the Aug. 18 shooting, in which four men were shot shortly before 6 a.m. on a stretch of Jefferson Boulevard populated by recreation vehicles and tents. All of the victims were experiencing homelessness, but investigators have said it did not appear to be the motive for the shooting.

Police officials did not identify the man who had been arrested, other than to say he had a lengthy criminal history and was on parole under post-release community supervision when the shooting occurred. But court and police booking records indicate he is Gerald Edward Rodriguez, 55, of Venice.

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Rodriguez was arrested Oct. 7 and charged five days later. During a court appearance on Oct. 12, he pleaded not guilty to four counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault with a firearm and one count of felony burglary, court records show.

Pacific Division gang and narcotics detectives, who made the arrest, also have issued an arrest warrant for a woman they say was involved in the shooting but whose whereabouts are unknown. Court records indicate she and another man are linked to the shooting.

Rodriguez has at least two convictions for narcotics possession, and one involves an amount that was considered possession for sale, court records show.

Two of the men who were shot at the homeless camp were initially in critical condition after the shooting. All four victims were hospitalized.

Earlier this year, the encampment was blamed as the source of a fire in the wetlands.


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