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Monrovia shooting underscores gang war

January 29, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Investigators say a racially charged gang war may be responsible for the shootings of two innocent teenage girls in Monrovia over the weekend. One of the girls died. Detectives say violence between rival gangs has been escalating in the area. New details of the shooting are emerging.

Authorities say that a racially charged gang feud is hurting innocent victims.

Sheriff's homicide detectives combed the crime scene for more clues into the brutal shooting death of 16-year-old Samantha Salas.

Detectives tell Eyewitness News that two African-American members of a notorious Monrovia gang walked up to Salas and her girlfriend and opened fire as the girls stood outside Salas's parents' apartment community in the 2500 block of Peck Road in unincorporated Monrovia. Salas was killed. Her friend was injured.

Homicide investigators say so far in their investigation, they believe the black gang members entered turf belonging to a rival Hispanic gang and in an act of retaliation, targeted the teens simply because they were there.

"From all indications, this girl was a truly innocent victim in this thing," said L.A. County Homicide Detective Sgt. Edward Godfrey. "[She] was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that's the tragic part about it."

Detectives say since the first of the year, a violent war between black and Hispanic gangs has escalated in Monrovia and in neighboring cities.

Nearly two weeks ago, authorities say members of a Hispanic gang shot an elderly man outside of his Monrovia home.

Investigators say there have been numerous shootouts between the rivals. In one case, they say a boy riding his bike was injured by gang gunfire.

Lieutenant Chris Marks is with the L.A. County Sheriff's Gang Unit. "Most recently we've increased our investigative efforts and our suppression efforts," said Marks. "We've increased the amount of deputies working this area seven days a week, and we're also communicating with the Monrovia Police Dept. on a daily basis as to our leads and our investigations."

City officials in Monrovia say they're outraged at the bloodshed.

"It's not just the man on the street -- it's actually people who find themselves in and around gang areas that are being targeted right now," said Monrovia Mayor Rob Hammond. "And it's very disturbing."

Monday, Eyewitness News spoke to the parents of 16-year-old Samantha Salas. They are distraught. Their daughter was gunned down in an apparent senseless gang war.

Authorities need the public's help catching suspects by calling L.A. County Homicide detectives at (323) 890-5500.

 

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