1 wounded in shootout between mourners, rival gang at South L.A. funeral
A man was critically wounded Wednesday outside a funeral home after mourners, who were gathered for a service in South Los Angeles, exchanged gunfire with members of a rival gang, police said.
Friends and family of 41-year-old Kumase Jefferson, who was shot and killed Aug. 15 in Vermont-Slauson, were standing in the parking lot of the funeral home near 47th Street and Avalon Boulevard at 11:45 a.m. when members of rival gang approached them.
Mourners moved toward the gang members, who then fired shots at the group, said Los Angeles Police Lt. John Jenal.
“You would hope that people would allow friends and family to mourn,” Jenal said. “The mourning process -- at least that should be respected.”
Some of the mourners were armed with weapons and returned gunfire, prompting a running gun battle between the two groups, he said.
At some point during the shooting, the man was struck by gunfire. It is unclear if he was a member of rival gang or a mourner, Jenal said.
The group exchange multiple rounds of gunfire and multiple guns were used, Jenal said.
Officers were in the area of South Park when they heard gunshots. They drove to the funeral home and noticed multiple vehicles driving away. Officers followed a suspect’s vehicle until it crashed.
Two people inside the vehicle were detained and were being interviewed by detectives Wednesday evening, he said.
Police recovered an assault rifle and pistol in the parking lot of the funeral home, Jenal said.
Hoping to quell gang tension in the area, police will be working with community-based gang interventionists to maintain peace. Officers will also be looking for additional victims and witnesses.
“No one wants to see this,” Jenal said of Wednesday’s shooting.
Recent shootings in South L.A. have deepened fears over increased gang activity, spurring the hashtags #100days100nights and #PrayforLA on Twitter and Instagram. The claim was that a gang had vowed 100 days of violence.
But LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and other department brass asserted that the recent violence was not linked to social media and that the social media claims were just rumors.
For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA.
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