• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Gunmen sought in string of Pacoima shootings

March 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police need your help in tracking down the gunmen responsible for a shooting rampage that left a young woman dead and three other people wounded. Police say the shooting was narcotics-related, but would not say if any of the victims in the shooting were connected to the narcotics activity.

The murder victim's family said she was waiting for a ride to church when she was fatally shot.

Police are asking for the public's help in the shooting that left a 21-year-old woman dead and three others wounded.

At the scene of the shooting, outlines on a sidewalk mark where bullet casings fell, and candles and flowers honor 21-year-old Vanessa Rankins.

"She was waiting for her ride to come back so she could go to church," said Sharon Roberts, Vanessa's aunt.

Roberts says her niece leaves behind a 2-year-old child. Vanessa was one of four people who were shot on Tuesday night near the corner of Pala Avenue and Pinney Street in Pacoima.

Vanessa died Wednesday night and one victim remains in critical condition while the other two are expected to survive.

"This time it was my niece. Next time it could be your child," said Roberts. "So we're just asking: If you know something, make it known. Just make it known."

At a news conference inside a fire station Thursday, members of the Los Angeles Police Department asked for the public's help in solving Tuesday's shooting. They say it was a group of young men who walked up to the victims and opened fire.

"We are considering the likelihood that narcotics activity may be the motivation behind this incident," said LAPD Lieutenant Kristine Kenney.

"The community is deserving of better than what happened Tuesday night on Pinney Street," said LAPD Captain Joseph Hiltner.

This is just the latest in a string of fatal shootings in this Pacoima neighborhood. Two weeks ago, a 15-year-old boy riding a bike was shot dead in an apparent gang attack.

"It's all drug-related," said Pacoima resident Toby Martinez. "Gangs, it's how they make their money."

"We're not going to tolerate the abuse that these predators would inflict on the community," said Hiltner.

If you have information related to these cases, you're asked to call the Los Angeles Police Department at (877) LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).