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$50K rewards offered for 3 South LA killings

January 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A recent string of murders in South Los Angeles prompted the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday to unanimously approve three separate $50,000 rewards.Family members of the three victims joined the Los Angeles Police Department to ask for help in solving the crimes.

Jesus Vasquez, 49, was shot and killed outside his home on Arlington Avenue Nov. 30.

Taburi Watson, 14, was killed while riding his bike on South Street Andrews Place on Dec. 29, 2010.

On Christmas Day, Kashmier James was gunned down outside her car on West 85th Street while her young daughter sat in the back seat.

"The gunman fired nine times not caring that she was innocent and that she had her 3-year-old baby in the car," said Kashmier's mother as she pleaded for help to find her daughter's killer.

While the shooters were allegedly gang members, the victims were not.

Just over half of the city's murders in 2010 were gang related.

"Over the last year, it's been static," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said at a press conference Tuesday. "That's good news, because as we get better at this, then holding the line sometimes is what we ask for."

With budget talks already under way, Beck said if he keeps his department at just under 10,000 officers, there's one goal he'd like to achieve next year.

"We need to reduce gang homicides by at least another 50 percent."

Anyone with information about any of the three murders is asked to call the LAPD Criminal Gang Homicide Division at (213) 485-1383.