Updated after the jump: Pacific Division officers and city politicians call community members to Penmar Park to announce the capture of Mariscal, a student from Culver City.
The LAPD has just announced the arrest of 19-year-old Michael Anthony Mariscal for a shooting at Penmar Park last Wednesday that killed two Venice High students on the verge of graduation. Salvador “Junior” Diaz, 18, and Alan Mateo, 19, were killed in the bleachers just before a girls' softball game was set to begin on the field.
Pacific Area Homicide Detectives say Mariscal was arrested at 11 a.m. “He was booked for murder and is being held on $2 million bail,” reads the release. Since the beginning, cops believed the shooting to be gang-related.
A community meeting is planned for 7 p.m. at Penmar Park. We'll update from there.
Update, 9:30 p.m.: Diaz and Mateo's families, joined by nearly 100 members of the east Venice community, gathered at a basketball court in Penmar Park to talk about Mariscal's capture, and how crimes like his might be avoided in the future.
“He is the shooter,” LAPD Captain Jon Peters announced to the crowd. “He intended to shoot these individuals.”
Though family members keep insisting that the Venice High victims had no gang affiliation, Peters maintained that the shooting was at least gang-related on the shooter's end. Mariscal is “a documented gang member,” he said.
From there, the conversation turned to the future.
“The opportunity for retaliation is something we take very, very seriously,” said Peters. Members of the crowd seemed especially concerned that last Wednesday's shooting might be tied to a previous Memorial Day shooting at Oakwood Park, located about a mile west.
The police captain wouldn't give specific answers as to which gangs might be involved, but murmurs among many Venice residents, and some police officers, are that the Culver City 13 (or Culver City Boys) gang is a main suspect.
In light of the rumors, one woman in the crowd became visibly upset that others seemed to be blindly hunting for someone to blame. And when another man kept pushing officers to tell him how we get these gangsters out of here, she said sharply: “Not everybody black and brown is part of a gang. These kids were skaters.”
There did seem to be a bit of a tension between the families present to mourn Diaz and Mateo's deaths — mostly lingering at the door — and those present to express their dismay that something like this could happen in such a nice (read: largely white) Venice community.
“The purpose of this meeting is healing,” said L.A. City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl.
The most unifying moment was when Diaz' father stood up, and — as Rosendahl held out the mic — described what it's like, as a dad, to see someone you taught “how to walk, how to hit a ball,” suddenly just gone.
“I received his graduation picture today,” said Diaz, propping the photo at the front of the room. “Look at him — he was not a gang member.”
However, he did describe to Univision reporters outside, in Spanish, how “when they go out the front door, you don't know what they're doing anymore.”