Detectives are searching for leads in a double murder that occurred on Sept. 16 in East Hollywood that authorities said was gang-related.
The incident occurred at approximately 8 p.m. in the 500 block of N. Heliotrope Drive, just south of the Hollywood (101) Freeway. A group of eight to 10 people were gathered in front of a residence when a gunman walked up and started shooting, said Det. Ray Martinez, with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart Division. He added that the gunman targeted the group as opposed to it being a random shooting.
“Four people were struck by gunfire, two were pronounced dead at the scene,” Martinez said. “All of the parties involved are documented gang members.”
The two victims who were injured were taken by paramedics to Los Angeles County USC Medical Center in stable condition. The deceased men were identified as Walter Martinez, 23, and Hector Estrada, 20. They ran from the scene but collapsed on a walkway adjacent to an embankment on the side of the 101 Freeway between Heliotrope Drive and Berendo Street, Martinez said.
The gunman was described by witnesses as a Hispanic man. Martinez said Wednesday that no arrests have been made in the case.
“It’s an isolated incident and it’s unusual to have someone just walk up to a group and start shooting like that,” said Martinez, who added that gangs are known to frequent the area. “[The neighborhood] is getting better, but there is still crime and there are still gangs.”
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District, is concerned about the incident and its effect on the community. He joined police officers and residents at an informal outdoor gathering in the neighborhood on Sept. 22 to talk about crime and ease fear.
“Not only have we lost lives, but Angelenos should not have to deal with this type of activity and unnecessary fear in their community,” O’Farrell said. “We have worked too hard to reduce crime in the area, which is why I want to raise the profile on this incident, and reassure neighbors that the Los Angeles Police Department is committed to keeping our neighborhoods safe. The LAPD Gang Intervention and Prevention specialists will be directly involved in these efforts to provide an alternative to a life of crime.”
Anyone with information about the homicides is asked to call Rampart Division detectives at (213)484-3642. During weekends and off-hours, call (877)LAPD247.
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