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Innocent man killed in Van Nuys gang shooting

August 5, 2010 12:19:23 AM PDT
An innocent man was killed in Van Nuys when he was caught in gang crossfire on Wednesday, and police are asking for the public's help finding the gunman.Authorities said the victim, identified as Saul Melchor, was driving southbound on the 8100 block of Langdon Avenue in his truck at about 8:45 p.m. when gunfire erupted.

"We just heard the six gunshots, and I came outside running," said witness Daniella Carranza.

Another neighbor, Juan Gonzalez, said Melchor had stopped his truck when the first shots rang out but he drove into the crossfire and the last shot hit him. Gonzalez said he lost control of the truck and crashed into some parked cars.

Neighbors rushed to help the 25-year-old, but it was too late. Melchor was shot once in the head. He was declared dead at the scene.

Melchor was reportedly on his way home from work at a construction job when the incident happened. Friends and neighbors said he came with his aunt from Puebla, Mexico to help support the family.

"Now they're suffering because they want to send him to Puebla, Mexico but they have no money," said friend Griselda Lopez. "They have no money to send his body."

Police said he was not the intended victim. According to detectives, gang members were shooting at each other when the young man apparently drove through the area.

One person was taken into custody for questioning, but it was unclear if he had anything to do with the shooting or if he was arrested.

Authorities do not have any solid descriptions of suspects or their vehicles, only that one of them was some kind of white vehicle.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD tip line at (877) LAPD-24-7. Authorities stress that you can remain anonymous.


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