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Vigil held for slain Echo Park boy

January 14, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Police hunt for whoever shot and killed an innocent 4-year-old boy in Echo Park on Tuesday night.LAPD Rampart officers received a call of shots fired at Court St. and N. Bixel St. at 4:25 p.m. Tuesday.

According to police, four Hispanic men were at the top of the hill on Bixel when one of the men started shooting at a red Toyota Scion. The car fled the scene during the gunfire, but a child was struck.

The child, identified as Roberto Lopez, was with his 6-year-old sister on his way to a neighborhood community center a couple of doors down when he was hit in chest.

Roberto's grandfather said the child used to walk to the community center every day with his older sister and 8-year-old brother to play.

When he heard the shots fired, he said he came outside to take a look.

He said he held a bleeding Roberto in his arms, waiting for paramedics to arrive. He said he believes God will judge those responsible for his grandson's death.

Roberto was transported in critical condition to Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where he was pronounced dead, said LAPD Lt. John Romero during a press conference.

Romero said police are unsure if the Scion was the intended target or if they were just trying to get out of the way.

No suspect description has been released. Police believe the child was an unintended victim of gang violence.

Neighbor Melissa Gomez said when she heard about the shooting, she ran out because she thought it might have been one of her children.

"It really hurts me because he was just a little kid, he was innocent," she said.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD at (877) LAPD-24-7.


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