Police hunt for clues in deadly shooting of reality TV director

Two Los Angeles police detectives went door-to-door Friday in a search for clues in the shooting death of TV writer-director James Marcus Howe at his Glassell Park home.

Howe’s wife was wounded in the attack that occurred the day before Thanksgiving after a man posing as a salesman knocked on their door about 10:55 a.m.

When Howe and his wife approached the front door, they saw the man alone. Within seconds, another man and a woman forced their way into the home, police said.

One of the men pulled out a handgun. Shots were fired just inside the doorway of the home the couple shared with their pre-school aged son, investigators said.


Howe died at the scene, and his wife, who was seriously wounded. was taken to a hospital.

“The victims were completely innocent. There is nothing to connect them with the assailants,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Jose Perez.

On Friday afternoon, the detectives knocked on the doors of houses in the 4400 block of West Avenue 42, hoping for information that would lead to the killers.

Neighbors assumed the sound of shots they heard Nov. 27 were firecrackers.

Joy Brooks, 71, said she was in her home playing Sudoku when she heard three pops.

“I was in denial thinking it wasn’t shots,” she said. “I thought it was hammering or banging. I thought it was my neighbor.”

Howe and his wife began renting the home several months ago. The larger Glassell Park neighborhood in the last six months has had 21 violent crimes and 167 property crimes.
Howe, 42, had worked on numerous reality television shows. His wife is a popular educator who works at a private Pasadena school.

Perez said the shooting seems to be random with no obvious motive. With a history of racial violence by Latino Avenues gang members against blacks in a nearby area, the Los Angeles Police Department was quick to eliminate a racial motive for the shootings. Howe is African American.

Witnesses described the suspects as two black males and a black female, Perez said. The man who pretended to be a salesman was described as 16 to 22 years old; the gunman as 20 to 25 years old.

Perez said witnesses saw the suspects flee in a dark Mustang.

Rick Coca, a spokesman for Councilman Jose Huizar whose 14th District includes the area, called the killing a “brazen attack...that devastated a community and family.”

“This is a nice community,” Coca said, noting Delevan Drive Elementary School is less than a mile from where the shooting occurred. “Some people get desensitized to these events when they happen, but we in this area do not.”


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