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Mac Park fatal shooting first in 3 years

September 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A popular park turned into a deadly crime scene Monday morning when two men were shot. One man was killed and the other was seriously wounded. It's the first homicide in three years in the once-notorious MacArthur Park, just west of downtown Los Angeles.Detectives say it was a bold and brazen shooting after 10 a.m. in MacArthur Park, when people are normally walking through the park, traffic is everywhere, and yet a gunman opened fire and killed a man and critically injured another.

"The victims appear to be sitting in the park talking when two individuals approach them and there was some exchange of words," said LAPD Lieutenant Joe Losorelli. "What was said is unknown at this time. One of the suspects produced a weapon and shot one of the victims at close range and then he turned the weapon on the second victim and shot him multiple times in the chest. Right now we don't know the motive for the shooting."

"I didn't see anything but I heard a couple of shots and I saw a whole bunch of helicopters in the sky, so I thought something was wrong, so I just came around here and saw the police had closed the area," said Westlake resident Luis Martel.

Detectives say the gunman opened fire and took off on foot with his accomplice.

"The suspects were described, there's two involved, both were described as male Hispanic. One was wearing a white shirt and the person with the gun, the suspect with the gun, was last seen running southbound on Alvarado from 6th Street, and that's where he was last seen," said Lt. Losorelli.

Police say it's been years since this park has seen this kind of bloodshed.

"As far as I know, people are frolicking all the time, kids running around," said Westlake resident Jim Ortega. "I bring my family around here."

"Mac Park through the last several years has been very clean, very free of crime. This is the first homicide that we've had in the park in over three years. Violent crime in the park itself is down," said Lt. Losorelli.

Police tried to step up foot patrols in the park, helping nearby businesses, and cameras in the park are credited with helping to dramatically decrease violent crime in the area. Police are hoping those cameras will help key in on the suspects.

"Right now whether anything was captured on those cameras, it's too early to tell," said Lt. Losorelli.

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