Mara Salvatrucha Gang Turf Targeted in Spate of Deadly Koreatown Area Shootings
A spate of gang-related shootings have broken out in and around Koreatown in recent months, most happening in a neighborhood known as the epicenter of the global El Salvadoran Mara Salvatrucha gang.
The latest went down early yesterday when two men and a woman were gunned down in the 2700 block of San Marino Avenue, police said. One of the young men died at a hospital; the other two were stabilized.
Cops stated that it went down like this:
... two suspects, described as male Hispanics, walked up to the victims and open fire. The motive for the shooting appears to be gang related.
It happened shortly before 4 a.m., which is when officers were dispatched to the scene, the LAPD stated.
The victims were said to be between the ages of 18 and 20. No suspect descriptions were available.
On Aug. 20 another walk-up shooting only blocks away took the life of a 17-year-old boy and injured another who was shot in the leg, police said.
That attack happened in the 2800 block of Leeward Avenue.
View Koreatown gang shootings in a larger map
In rival turf only two days before that, three men were shot in a walk-up attack in the 1400 block of Alvarado Terrace, police said; one of the three died. That Pico-Union neighborhood is only a few blocks southeast of the two attacks above and represents the historic home of the massive 18th Street gang.
Back in Koreatown, Leeward is a street we described in 2009 as "one of the city's most notorious drug markets."
Back then cops marveled that two of the nation's most dangerous gangs, M.S. and its neighboring archenemy, 18th Street, had been peaceful in recent years, perhaps as a way to keep the heat off of their lucrative drug sales.
Summer of 2012 didn't start off on such a cool note.
On the afternoon of May 26 the driver of an SUV ran down a bicyclist before someone jumped out of the vehicle and fatally shot the bike rider, police said. That one happened at San Marino and New Hampshire Avenue.
M.S. laid down its roots decades ago on the grass of Seoul International Park, a few blocks east, at Olympic Boulevard and Irolo Street in Koreatown.
[Updated at 11:47 a.m. Tuesday]: In a strange bit of timing, the New York Times delves into the war between M.S. and 18th Street and says there has been a gang truce hammered out in El Salvadoran prison.
Calling the L.A.-born street armies "two of the hemisphere's most violent street gangs," the Times quotes Alex Sanchez of L.A. gang-intervention group Homies Unidos:
This is a historic moment in El Salvador. If we lose this moment, we lose the moment of a lifetime.
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