Walk-Up Shooter Kills One and Injures Several Others

July 24, 2000

Saturday, July 22, 2000

"Walk-Up Shooter Kills One and Injures Several Others"
(earlier drive-by shooting may be related)

Panorama City – On July 21, 2000, at approximately 9:25 p.m., Devonshire Area officers responded to a report of shots fired in the 8800 block of Kester Avenue, in Panorama City. Upon arriving, the responding officers found two male gunshot victims seated in a compact car parked next to Kester Park. Both victims had been shot a number of times in the upper torso and paramedics were summoned to render aid. Victim-1, whose name is being withheld pending identification and notification of his next of kin, was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting. Victim-1 appears to be a male Hispanic in his late teens. Victim 2, identified as Miguel Becerra, 20 years old and a resident of North Hollywood, was transported to a local hospital where he remains in critical condition following surgery for gunshot wounds.

Upon further investigation, officers learned several female passengers were also in the victim vehicle at Kester Park, however, they were able to flee to a nearby residence after the attack. Two of the victim females received minor gunshot wounds and were treated at local hospitals. The two female gunshot victims are minors and their names are being withheld due to their ages.

Witnesses have indicated that the victim group was parked next to the park, when a vehicle containing several male Hispanics parked nearby. One of the passengers exited the suspect vehicle and approached the victims on foot. The suspect yelled a verbal challenge, which was possibly gang-related, and began firing multiple rounds into the vehicle, striking the four victims. The incident appears to be gang-related, however, investigators have not determined whether any of the victims are associated with any gang.

In addition, Devonshire Area Homicide detectives are exploring the possibility that a drive-by shooting in the 9000 block of Columbus Avenue, in North Hills, may have been committed by the same suspects, approximately five minutes prior to the murder on Kester Avenue. The victim of this prior shooting, identified as Jose Islas, 37 years old, was wounded once in the lower torso as he exited his apartment. He is not believed to have been the intended victim of the gunfire and is in stable condition. The motive for this shooting has not yet been determined.

The suspect vehicle in both incidents is described as a full size, dark-colored, American-made car.

Devonshire Area Homicide Detectives are handling the investigation. Anyone with information regarding either of the above-referenced shootings may contact detectives at 818-756-8291.

This press release was prepared by Officer Guillermo Campos, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.

For Release 10:00 am PDT
July 24, 2000