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Men trying to stop taggers shot; 1 dead

December 18, 2008 5:28:07 AM PST
Police in Hollywood are searching for a gunman who opened fire on two men, killing one and wounding the other on Wednesday night. The men were shot around 9 p.m. Wednesday in the 900 block of North Hobart Boulevard near Lemon Grove Avenue.

Police said the victims were searching for a place to park in the neighborhood when they saw two men with spray-paint tagging a wall. The men pulled over and told the taggers to stop.

Minutes later, a third suspect approached the car and began shooting, killing 29-year-old Jose Jorge Perez. Jose Diaz, 41, riding in the car with Perez survived with a wound to the shoulder.

"They were writing on the wall and my dad told them to stop. I don't know how he told them guess, but I guess they got offended," said victim's son, Cesar Diaz.

"The victim said 'hey, don't do that,' and really didn't think anything about it," said LAPD Det. Wendi Berndt. "When somebody steps up to try to do something about it and they're murdered for such an insignificant type of a thing, it should outrage the community."

It is an area where monikers are everywhere. Neighbors say a Salvardoran gang tagged a building about the same time as the shooting.

Cisco Huijbregts heard seven shots and rushed to help the victims.

"To get killed over something like that a couple seconds of spray paint is just not understandable,"said Huijbregts.

Homicide investigators say the pair was killed by a gunman who was a friend of the taggers. Police believe someone in the neighborhood knows who he is.

"He is a male Hispanic, about 21 years old, 5 feet 6 inches and 160 pounds," said Det. Berndt.

Jose Jorge Perez's companion says he was hard worker. He was a painter from Guatemala who never got into fights. She is calling for justice.

The children of Jose Diaz are glad that they still have a father.

"My dad is brave. He doesn't understand that he has a lot of kids, and that he can't be acting brave," said Cesar Diaz.

Investigators believe there are people how saw the gunman and may know who he is. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call the LAPD hotline at (877) LAPD-24-7.


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