The shooting at a crowded San Pedro park Sunday afternoon that killed two people and wounded six was believed to be gang-related, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The LAPD said it got reports of a shooting just before 4 p.m. at Peck Park, where about 500 people were gathered. A softball game and car show were taking place, but it’s unclear whether either event was connected to the incident.
The shooting occurred near the baseball diamond, LAPD Officer Drake Madison said. The number of suspects is unknown, but the incident is believed to be gang-related and to have resulted from a dispute between two parties, he said.
Multiple firearms were recovered at the scene and entered into evidence, police said. As of Monday afternoon, police didn’t have anyone in custody or a description of the suspects.
Eight people — four women and four men — suffered gunshot wounds and were hospitalized, including a 29-year-old man and a 31-year-old man who died at the hospital, Madison said. The six others, including a man who transported himself to the hospital in a private vehicle, are listed as stable.
While details of the shooting are still being sorted out, it appears Sunday’s outburst of violence stemmed from a long-simmering internal conflict among the Santana Blocc Crips gang, said Cornell “Coach” Ward of Southern California CeaseFire Committee, a coalition of violence prevention groups.
“It’s like a civil war between Santana Blocc Crips,” Ward said of the Compton-based gang, which was formed in the late 1970s. “We don’t know what really sparked it, but bottom line, when you have what we consider community events, it’s supposed to be no gunplay.”
Ward said incidents like this are part of a cycle of attacks and retribution — sometimes dating back years — that, if left unchecked, could result in more bloodshed. That’s why, he said, outreach workers have been talking to the gang members to soothe frayed nerves and try to stave off retaliatory attacks.
“That’s pretty much what we’re doing now,” Ward said. “We’re having some conversations amongst guys from that community and say, ‘Hey, let’s stay home and play defense, that means don’t go out and shoot somebody, don’t go out and retaliate,’ until we have a good idea of how we can get this thing squashed.”
Madison said that he wasn’t aware of which specific gang was involved in the shooting but that it’s now “in the hands of the detectives.”
A woman named Moneke Howard told KCBS-TV Channel 2 that her son, whom she identified only as Taz, was killed in the shooting.
“Today, we need to do better. That’s it, we need to do better,” she told the news station.
Bystander videos posted on Snapchat of the shooting’s aftermath showed dozens of police officers and firefighters milling around the scene as news helicopters hovered overhead.
The LAPD declared a citywide tactical alert because of the large number of police officers sent to the scene, which was no longer active Monday.