Gang violence blamed for murder

MONROVIA (KABC) Sixty-four-year-old Pete Rollins was gunned down Sunday night on the 1200 block of Sherman Ave. Rollins was walking from his car to his home when a vehicle pulled up and someone opened fire.

Investigators believe he is the innocent victim of gang violence. They say the shooting may have been racially motivated.

One cop tells Eyewitness News that this Monrovia neighborhood is one of the roughest in the city. Family and neighbors of the victim say tensions between African-Americans and a Latino gang are escalating.

The victim's family says something has to be done to put to rest the gang violence.

"I mean, it's all over. That's what it is right now, you know, its blacks against Mexicans," said Ricky Blackwell, Jr., the victim's nephew. "But it is what it is. But over here, everybody at my house, we're just going to have to push that hard line from now on. We're just going to have to go hard. They want to act like that, everybody got to protect themselves, so you know, pretty much it is what it is. It's just how life is right now.

"It's a race war out here. And there's a green light on Mexicans just like there's a green light on blacks," continued Blackwell. "It's going down like that. So it is what it is."

Authorities know there is a serious problem.

"What we've seen recently is an uptick in gang violence between two rival gangs in this particular area -- a Hispanic gang and an African-American gang," said Chief Roger Johnson of the Monrovia Police Department. "And as we tend to see, gang activity in our particular area is cyclical, in that law enforcement in the community will work hard to put particular gang members in custody on the crimes that they commit.

"However, after a period of time - a lull, if you will - you'll see an increase in gang activity when a gang member gets out of prison, and you'll see a rise in recruitment and activity of that particular gang," continued Chief Johnson.

The L.A. County sheriff's department is conducting a murder investigation. The latest word is that they are still following up on leads, but no suspects are in custody.

The family and the police department are trying to get the community together to figure out a way to curb the violence. This is the first homicide in Monrovia this year. They had one last year. In 2006, there were no homicides.

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