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Los Angeles: Los Angeles police officers rescued a terrified mother and her four daughters from two gang members who burst into their South Park apartment while running from police early this morning, March 25, 2010.
“Quick thinking and officers’ tenacity rescued this family from the gang members,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, who is over detectives for the downtown Central Police Station. “The officers did not fall for a gang member’s bluff when he answered the door, demanding to see a warrant.”
The incident began just after midnight when residents in the neighborhood called police, reporting a gang group with guns in front of the apartment at 916 Georgia Street, just north of the LA Live. Officers assigned to patrol the LA Live area arrived quickly. “They saw the group of a dozen or more scatter, many running into the apartment,” Lt Vernon said. “While none of the gang lives in the apartment, they somehow claim it as their own, marking the neighborhood with gang graffiti.”
Officers rounded up five men, ranging in ages from 18 to 25, and two women, 17 and 18, from inside the apartment building, most running for the basement and other familiar hiding places in common areas. “The officers called out the two girls from a narrow crawl space,” Lt. Vernon explained. “But something didn’t feel right to the officers so they began knocking on apartment doors to make sure everyone was OK.”
The officers found a small, occupied room in a secluded part of the building. After persistently knocking on the door, 18-year-old Pablo Giron opened the door and challenged the officers by demanding to see a search warrant. One officer noticed mud and dirt on his clothing and his shirtless torso revealed a gang tattoo. The officers grabbed the man then entered to find a young mother and her four daughters, ages 2 to 12, huddled on one bed. The officers found Evasto Islas, 25, hiding in the bathroom under laundry. “This little family had been terrified when these two gang members came in through the bathroom window to evade the officers,” Lt. Vernon explained.
Giron and Evasto were booked for false imprisonment and their bail was set at $50,000. The remaining suspects were booked for trespassing and their bails were set at $1000 each. The minor girl was cited for trespass and a curfew violation. Police discovered she had been reported missing. They returned her to her mother. A car was reported stolen in the area soon after the arrests, so police suspect one of the gang members may have taken it to escape. “Chances are it will turn up somewhere near 42nd Street and Central Avenue, in the vicinity of where several of the arrestees live.” Lt. Vernon added.
The public is encouraged to report any kind of gang activity to police. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at (800)-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone numbers 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a mobile telephone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompt.