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Crime

Venice Shooting Leaves One Man Dead, More Wounded at Penmar Park During Girls' Softball Game

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Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 5:15 PM

click to enlarge Shooting at Penmar Park - YO! VENICE
Reporting by Dennis Romero.

Update: "Junior Diaz and Alan Mateo, Venice High Seniors, Murdered at Penmar Park One Day Before Graduation."

Updated after the jump: An LAPD captain says another victim has died -- bringing the death toll to two. He says nine casings from a 9mm handgun have been recovered from the scene, and that the shooting victims, who looked like they were in their early 20s, had just graduated from an adult school. He believes the shooting was gang-related. A girls' softball game was set to begin at 4:30 p.m.

Originally posted at 5 p.m.

Twitter is abuzz with reports of a multiple-victim shooting in Penmar Park, located at the northeast end of Venice. According to reports, at least one of the victims has been declared dead. ABC LA identifies the suspected shooter as a Latino man wearing a light-brown T-shirt.

The L.A. City Fire Department placed the shooting at 1311 East Lake Street around 4:10 p.m. Fire officials report that, aside from the fatality, at least two more injured people have been transported to a hospital, but their condition is unknown. All the victims are said to be Latino.

Marymount High School girls' softball coach Dave Clark, whose team was set to play its first double-header of the summer league this afternoon, tells the Weekly that people were yelling "Get down, get down" upon hearing the gunfire -- at least six shots.

He says another female coach on the field wrapped her jacket around one victim's leg, then gave CPR to the victim who would soon be declared dead for 10 to 15 minutes next to the bleachers.

He says the man's eyes were open, but he wasn't moving.

click to enlarge The bleachers where softball parents were sitting when the shooting occurred. - DENNIS ROMERO
  • Dennis Romero
  • The bleachers where softball parents were sitting when the shooting occurred.
One of the shots actually came near the bleachers where they were playing softball, according to Clark. And an umpire claims he saw one of the victims run toward the field before hiding behind a tree.

Another witness saw a VW vehicle leave the scene -- and was able to take down its license-plate number for officers -- but wasn't sure if it was involved in the crime.

In the '80s and early '90s, Penmar Park was a known hangout for members of Venice 13, a violent Latino gang.

Update: LAPD Captain Gary Walters says that "at this time, we believe it's a gang-related shooting by a suspect who walked up and opened fire with a 9mm handgun."

Others at the scene believe a father watching the game -- a potential fourth victim -- may have also been grazed by a bullet, then left on his own for the hospital. Walters confirms that there might have been a bystander hit. [Update: The bystander was not hit by a bullet. And as for the third victim, wounded in the leg, Walters says "he'll be fine."]

The softball game was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. between Marymount and Torrance High School.

According to Walters, the shooting victims had just graduated from an adult day school and were at Penmar Park this afternoon to celebrate. He says investigators have found nine casings from the 9mm, and that the suspect, or suspects, are thought to have escaped in a vehicle.

click to enlarge Far right: the young man who died at the scene. - DENNIS ROMERO
  • Dennis Romero
  • Far right: the young man who died at the scene.
Update: A witness says he saw the body of the first victim to die, and that it "looked like a teenager."

It's no secret that there's been tension between the Santa Monica 13 and Venice 13 gangs lately -- especially in that area. Walters says, "we're worried about that constantly." However, Santa Monica police Sergeant Richard Lewis tells the Weekly that "we do have gang investigators over there," but that "so far it does not appear to be related to us."

All the gang detectives from the LAPD's Pacific Division were at the scene.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]

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