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Echo Park murder suspect caught in court

March 4, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A murder suspect in a local shooting spree has been captured. Police say he's been linked to three gang-related shootings in Echo Park and Glassell Park, two of them deadly.It was just after 5 p.m. Sunday, an otherwise peaceful night in Echo Park, shattered by two shootings, minutes apart.

Police say a 33-year-old man was shot in front of his house, then two minutes later and two blocks away, 38-year-old Eric Zamarripa was shot and killed. Twenty minutes later in Glassell Park, 37-year-old Carlos Gonzalez was fatally shot.

"Many of us heard the familiar 'pop-pop-pop' that sometimes is firecrackers, but unfortunately all too often it's gunfire," said L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti.

At a news conference at police headquarters Wednesday, city leaders tried to reassure the public that the shootings were not part of a gang war, but rather, an internal dispute with an Echo Park gang.

"This isn't a case of one rival gang shooting at another one. This is an internal dispute amongst the gang," said L.A. Police Captain Bill Murphy.

"One of the victims was standing with his 11-year-old daughter. That fact did not deter the criminal charged in this matter, shooting that individual to death," said LAPD Chief William Bratton.

LAPD detectives worked around the clock Sunday to identify their suspect, 34-year-old Andre Upshaw. When the Pasadena resident made an unrelated court appearance at the criminal courts building, officers took him into custody.

"We realized he's a cold-blooded murderer, he just killed two people so the courtroom actually gave us an advantage," said Capt. Murphy. "He would have to walk through a metal detector, so the likelihood of him bringing a gun in there was very low."


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