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Arrests made in Harbor Gateway shooting

March 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
A 6-year-old boy is fighting for his life Wednesday after being gunned down in a gang-related shooting. Two people have now been arrested in connection with the shooting.It's just one of a string of recent attacks involving children and sparking outrage.

The young boy remains in critical condition at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He's another innocent victim caught up in a wave of unprovoked gang violence that has already taken one life and injured several others.

Police say the young black boy was riding through the Harbor Gateway area with his family Tuesday afternoon when he was shot in the head. There were three adults, including a pregnant woman, and three children inside the red SUV. They do not live in the area and were just driving through.

"We are very confident that we have the people who were involved in the actual shooting in custody," Bratton said at a midday news conference, flanked by a number of other leaders, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Councilwoman Janice Hahn and City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo.

According to authorities, two Latino suspects standing along the road flashed gang signs and then fired several shots at the vehicle, shattering the rear window and striking the boy. He was rushed to the hospital and police began searching for the suspects.

LAPD Capt. William Hayes of the Harbor Division said police "conducted an extensive canvass of the neighborhood and were able to locate witnesses to the shooting that gave us information that led us to the identities of the individuals who were involved."

Police have announced the arrests of two people in connection with Tuesday's shooting. Their identities have not been released.

"Those two individuals were male Hispanics, one 25 years old, one 26 years old," Hayes said. "Based on that information, we were able to secure search warrants from the court systems and (serve) those search warrants at 5:30 this morning. At that time both suspects were taken into custody."

The names of the suspects were not immediately released. One is a member of East Side Torrance gang, and the other is probably a gang associate, Hayes said. He said the weapon, believed to be a handgun, used in the shooting had not yet been recovered.

Harbor Gateway has a history of gang violence and racially motivated attacks. "Detectives are working to determine if the shooting was racially motivated," Bratton said.

"If the circumstances warrant it, we would certainly seek to forward hate crime charges at the county, state or federal level -- whichever one would be more appropriate or punitive," Bratton said. "It's still too early to confirm that the issue of bias might have been involved. That's what we're still working on."

Mayor Villaraigosa attended a community meeting on gang violence spurred by last week's shooting at a south L.A. bus stop that injured eight people, including several middle school students. City officials say more police are needed on the streets.

Several hundred people attended Tuesday night's public safety meeting in south L.A.

A candlelight vigil was also held Tuesday night for 17-year-old Jamiel Andre Shaw. The high school student and football star was shot and killed Sunday just a few yards from his home in what police call a random attack.

If you have any information regarding these shootings, you're asked to call the Los Angeles Police Department at (877) LAW-FULL. You can remain anonymous.

CNS and Eyewitness News reporters Amy Powell and Leo Stallworth contributed to this report.

 

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