L.A. hits 300 homicides for first time in a decade

Kevin Rector
Crime tape surrounds the scene where a 17-year-old boy was fatally shot in South L.A. Saturday night, as Los Angeles Police officials work the scene.
Crime tape surrounds the scene where a 17-year-old boy was fatally shot in South L.A. on Saturday night. (Kevin Rector / Los Angeles Times)

Amid a rash of weekend gun violence, Los Angeles early Sunday reached a bloody benchmark not seen in a decade: 300 homicides.

The milestone comes amid growing concerns about spikes in violence this year, not just in Los Angeles but also other big cities across the nation.

From Saturday into Sunday morning, there were four killings, among other shootings, the Los Angeles Police Department said. Much of the violence occurred in South L.A.

One victim was a 17-year-old boy riding a bicycle, another a 50-year-old homeless man. A 20-year-old man was killed, as was a 41-year-old woman.

In past decades, L.A. experienced far more violence, with more than 1,000 homicides in some years in the 1980s and 1990s. The city, however, has not surpassed 300 killings since 2009.

Now, with a surge in homicides happening in other cities across the country, Los Angeles has seen a 25% increase in killings over last year, hitting the 300 mark with more than a month left in 2020. Shootings are up more than 32%.

Official figures in the LAPD's data-driven Compstat unit stood at 299 homicides for the year Sunday morning, though the latest violence will push the figure higher once final confirmations are made, including with the Los Angeles County coroner's office, said Capt. Stacy Spell, a department spokesman.

"The reality is there are 300," Spell said. "It's tragic."

Much of this weekend's violence occurred on the street — including drive-by shootings.

Shortly after 3 p.m. Saturday, a 50-year-old man was found with multiple gunshot wounds near the intersection of Long Beach Avenue and East 25th Street and pronounced dead at the scene, according to Officer Melissa Podany, a police spokeswoman.

Preliminary information indicated that both the victim and a suspect in the case were experiencing homelessness, police officials said.

About 8:23 p.m., officers were called to the 1700 block of Imperial Highway for reports of another shooting and found a 17-year-old boy suffering from gunshot wounds.

Preliminary information indicated the boy "was riding his bicycle in that general area when an unknown suspect approached in a vehicle and fired multiple shots," Podany said.

The boy was pronounced dead on the way to a local hospital, she said. Police have no suspect information, only that a dark-colored vehicle fled the scene.

Just before 9 p.m., police responded to another shooting near West 75th Street and South Broadway — just a block north of the 77th Street police station.

There, officers found a 20-year-old man fatally wounded by gunfire. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Preliminary information indicated the shooting occurred after an argument with another man, who was taken into custody, Podany said.

About 9:20 p.m., a double shooting occurred near Vermont Avenue and West 93rd Street, in which unknown suspects approached and opened fire, wounding a 37-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman, Podany said.

Both victims were transported to a local hospital in critical condition, Podany said. Just after midnight, the woman died.

In addition to the fatal shootings, weekend gun violence left several others injured — including teenagers.

On Friday evening, a 19-year-old told police he was driving in the area of San Pedro and East 99th streets when he heard gunfire, pulled over and realized he had been hit. He was transferred to a hospital in critical condition, Podany said.

A 27-year-old man told police he was sitting in his vehicle Saturday about 11:30 a.m. in the area of Vermont Avenue and West 55th Street when a group of four people approached and "demanded to know where he was from," Podany said.

One of the suspects then fired two shots into the man's car, before he pulled away and fled the scene, Podany said. He was transported to a local hospital and was in stable condition, she said.

About 6 p.m. Saturday, two 30-year-old men were shot by four people who rolled past in a vehicle in the 1200 block of Innes Avenue, near Dodger Stadium, Podany said. Both were transported to a local hospital.

Just before 7 a.m. Sunday, a 19-year-old man was found suffering from a gunshot wound on the sidewalk in the 4500 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Podany said. The teen was uncooperative with police, who have no suspect information, she said.

Los Angeles Times reporter Richard Winton contributed to this article.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.