Los Angeles: Two young men were shot and killed in the 2000 block of South Garth Avenue last night, July 13, 2006, around 8:15 PM. These were the second and third murders in three days, all within the vicinity of Hamilton High School.
Julio Perez and William Avalos had just attended a memorial service for 16-year-old Ana Interiano, who was killed by a gunman on July 11. They were driving around the block from the service when they were confronted by one or more suspects, who shot both victims. Detectives received little information from bystanders.
"Right now, the only connection between the two shootings is the proximity to the location and the fact that the victims had attended the memorial service of the first victim," said LAPD spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vernon. "One of the men killed had been a witness to the July 11 shooting, but we have not confirmed whether his murder was retaliation or coincidence."
When officers arrived at the shooting scene on Garth Avenue, some bystanders were trying to administer first aid to the victims. A crowd formed and officers tried to keep it back to protect the crime scene and allow a path for paramedics to get in.
At one point, Christian Espinoza Martinez, 21, who is Ana Interiano’s brother, tried to push through the officers. Following a struggle, Martinez was arrested for felony battery on a police officer. While handcuffed in the police car, Martinez kicked out the car’s window.
Perez and Avalos died at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Both were 20 years old.
The three murders since July 11 are the only three murders in West Los Angeles this year. Violent crime was down 21 percent in the last four weeks, ending July 8, compared to the prior four weeks. Violent crime was down 7 percent for the year in West Los Angeles, compared to a city-wide reduction of 2.3 percent. Aggravated assaults are down 19 percent in West Los Angeles.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Ron Phillips at 323-444-1520. On weekends and during off-hours, call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).