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Westmont sees four murders since Sunday

August 12, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fear and anger in an L.A. community that has been hit by four deadly shootings in just 24 hours. The murder of a teenager Monday night marked the fourth killing since Sunday in the South L.A. community of Westmont.Family members of the three men that were shot arrived at the scene Tuesday afternoon. They have said prayers, and they are asking for help. Two of the victims were brothers, one was a cousin of the brothers.

Investigators are still looking for information and witnesses. Investigators have also looked at surveillance video in the area. Some of the video came from across the street from the scene at a gas station. The video did not capture the actual incident, but it did capture some very chilling images.

Disturbing images unfold on gas station surveillance video. At 11 p.m., "Cruise Night" is winding down at Western Ave. and Imperial Highway. But then at 11:31, gunfire across the street and a frenzied reaction. Customers scatter for cover. Some crouch down.

One man can be seeing going to a dark colored vehicle. As occupants get out, he takes out a bag. He reaches inside. He pulls out what appears to be a gun and tucks it into his waistband.

How many other weapons were in area Sunday night is a worry for neighbors and community advocates. Investigators are still looking two men who shot four people that evening. Three were killed.

"It is time to shun the behavior that kills your friends. It's time to shun the behavior that kills your family members. It's time to shun the behavior that kills your classmates," said Lita Herron, Youth Advocacy Coalition.

The outcry is amplified by another fatality on 109th Street nearby. Seventeen-year-old Eric Sims, who played football at Washington Preparatory High School, was shot while riding his bicycle.

"I just ran down here, called 911, but it was too late. He just died right here. He was only 17. He won't see the prom, won't see his 12th grade year of football. It's hurtful," said Sims' friend Marqueece Galway.

"This is terrorism. When you think about when you hear gunshots like that -- I can't even imagine being in a war zone hearing this all the time," said neighbor Linda Carruthers.

The coroner released the names of the three men killed Sunday night: Jose Alfred Farias, 24; Victor Manuel Farias, 25; and Vidal Hernandez Rebolledo, 34 years old. All were from Los Angeles.

As their services are planned, activists call out for peace.

"We want the guns put down in our city. We want the guns put down on our blocks. We want the guns put down, period," said Eddie Jones, Los Angeles Civil Rights Association.

The family of the three men killed by Sunday night's shooting is taking up collections.

Eyewitness News Reporter Leslie Miller contributed to this report.

 

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