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Man returning for L.A. visit shot dead

March 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A man's traumatized family says a former gang member who had turned his life around is now the victim of gang gunfire. Police, however, have not yet said that. The wife of the 21-year-old victim says they moved to Utah to escape the violence. That was a year and a half ago, after her husband's cousin was shot dead. Earlier this week they returned to Southern California, and that's when violence found them.

A family in shock, devastated by the cold-blooded murder of 21-year-old Juan Carlos Catalan -- son, husband, father of two.

"I want them to know that I want him back," said the Griselda Ochoa, the victim's wife. "Give me back Carlos. Carlos, come back."

Inglewood police say Catalan was shot once in the head Thursday night on the 3900 block of 112th Street. Police say they have no suspects or a motive, but the family says Catalan was targeted by a group of gang members as he walked to his car.

Catalan's mother says she thinks the suspects were lying in wait because as soon as he walked outside, the gunshots rang out.

"All I know, people came out of the trashcans and started shooting at him, that's all that I know," said Ochoa. "There were a lot of them too. There was a lot."

Catalan's wife says he was trying to escape gang life. The family had moved to Utah and he was working at a hotel.

"He came to visit," said Ochoa. "He came to visit, it was just a visit."

That visit to family members was on Tuesday, and by Thursday night Catalan was dead.

"They have no heart. They just hurt a family," said Ochoa.

Anyone with information is urged to call Inglewood Police at this 24-hour anonymous tip line: (888) 41-CRIME.


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