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Highland Park shootings, gang-related violence up in July, LAPD says

August 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The LAPD says July was a really bad month for Highland Park. There were numerous shootings, and many residents say they're afraid to leave their homes. Those who want something done attended a community meeting Thursday.

But just before that meeting, police swarmed a Highland Park neighborhood searching for two armed men. The suspects, described by authorities as known gang members, were taken into custody.

Concerned residents gathered at a nearby senior center for the meeting, which addressed the alarming rise in shootings.

"We want solutions. These people here are living in fear, the kids out there are not safe," said Highland Park resident Art Pulido.

LAPD Capt. Bill Murphy spoke at the meeting and informed residents about the increase in violence.

"We've had in Highland Park about nine shootings, and our breakdown in all of them is the Highland Park gang pretty much is responsible for probably 80, 90 percent of those shootings," said Murphy.

Police say one murder in July and many of the other shootings happened in the Monte Vista Street-area, where members of rival gangs have been terrorizing the community.

Lucy Rodriguez lives just down the street from the spot where the alleged gang members were arrested Thursday afternoon.

"July was really a bad month. I mean, you could see the helicopters all over the place, there were guns," she said.

During the community meeting, city officials and residents also discussed stepping up efforts to paint over graffiti. Police say they've increased patrols and are cracking down on violent crime.

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