A single shooting in South Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon is believed to have touched off a vicious cycle of retaliation between two gangs that left at least three men dead and more than half a dozen others injured, law enforcement officials said.
After that first fatal shooting, another man was killed just south of Gramercy Park in unincorporated Los Angeles County, and the third in Inglewood, police said. The victims were not immediately identified.
In addition to the dead, there were multiple shootings across the area from the afternoon well into the night, said Cmdr. Alfred Labrada of the LAPD's South Bureau, where much of the gunfire occurred.
"It's a very unusual, very high number of victims," Labrada said. "It's just an unfortunate situation for us, especially in light of people supposed to be staying home, that there are still people shooting people out there."
Early signs of gun violence in the city dropping off amid coronavirus-related shutdowns have disappeared in recent weeks. Wednesday's cycle was one example of the grim turnaround.
About 12:40 p.m. in the 5800 block of South Hoover Street, a man was killed in a drive-by shooting, Labrada said.
"That started a rash of unfortunate, retribution-type shootings that resulted in a total of 12 incidents between us and the county," Labrada said.
About 2 p.m., a man was shot in the 9100 block of La Salle Avenue and left in critical condition. "He's still in pretty bad shape at the hospital," Labrada said Thursday afternoon.
About 2:25 p.m., 10 people in the 6400 block of Vermont Avenue were shot at, though no one was struck.
At 2:50 p.m., a man was shot and wounded at 11th and West Florence avenues.
At 3 p.m., Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded to the 1700 block of West 111th Street and found a man with multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead.
They also located a second man suffering from a gunshot wound to the lower torso. He was listed in stable condition at a hospital, the Sheriff's Department said.
At 3:45 p.m., in South Los Angeles, a man was shot and wounded in the 4600 block of South Gramercy Place. At 4:30 p.m., a woman was shot in the 4300 block of La Salle Avenue.
About 6:45 p.m., a man was found fatally shot, lying on the ground in the 700 block of North La Brea Avenue, said Inglewood police. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
About 11 p.m., and again about 3:30 a.m., there were two more shootings in the area, with two more men wounded, Labrada said. There was other gunfire in which no one was struck, he said.
Labrada said police believe the incidents were related, and involved two South Los Angeles gangs, but he declined to specify which ones.
On Tuesday, LAPD Chief Michel Moore expressed concern to the Police Commission about a resurgence of serious violence.
While crime — including violent incidents — is down overall in the city, homicides are up, with 86 killings as of earlier this week compared with 82 at the same time last year.
Arrests have dropped by 16%. Moore attributed much of that decline to fewer citations in "discretionary areas" involving misdemeanor or minor offenses. Felony arrests overall were also down 2% and felony narcotics arrests fell by 16%.
Some police resources previously focused on narcotics trafficking are now "redirected at times to deal with this pandemic and the needs in the streets," Moore said.
Labrada said police are working hard to find those responsible for the recent uptick in gun violence and asked for the public's help in providing information.