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A day of watching basketball turns deadly for four relatives killed in Willowbrook shooting

The men had just finished watching the highly anticipated Lakers-Celtics game in their back patio with their family.

A flurry of shots were fired; four men were dead, and two men were seen fleeing in a black SUV.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies said they think the Friday night shooting in Willowbrook was gang-related, although they offered few details. They said the dead men included three brothers, Luis Jimenez, 26, Angel Jimenez, 25, and Anthony Jimenez, 24, and their cousin Martin Haro, 25.

But Luis Jimenez, a relative with the same name as one of the victims, identified Angel Jimenez and Anthony Jimenez as brothers, and the slain Luis Jimenez as their uncle.

He said the two brothers had moved from El Paso a few months ago to live with their grandmother. He said they were not gang members.

"They were regular kids," he said Sunday. "Nobody would have been after them. They were just collateral damage."

The brothers' mother flew in from Texas on Saturday. Their father, who lives nearby, had left the Willowbrook house minutes before the shooting, Jimenez said.

Neighbors in the 2100 block of Bliss Street on Sunday recalled the shooting.

"It was really loud, like a machine gun, and continuous … shooting," said Giovannie Lopez, 17, who was playing video games with his three younger brothers. "My dad was in his room, and he just screamed for us to get on the floor. I was thinking maybe I was going to get shot because the bullets sounded like they were really close."

A few houses down, Maria Cervant, 19, was watching a Spanish-language soap opera with her family when she heard the gunfire.

"My mother started screaming and told us to get on the floor," Cervant said. "It was really scary. It lasted a long time."

A group of women sitting in the shade knitting and bottle-feeding babies said they couldn't imagine losing a child.

"There are no words to describe this kind of tragedy," said one grandmother who was afraid to give her name. "I just have one son, and if something happened to him, I would go crazy."

Unfortunately, neighbors say, they have grown too used to the sounds of violence.

"Every day, it's the same thing," R. Gomez, 57, said. "They need to stop the killing."

chingching.ni@latimes.com

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