Homes hit with gunfire

A banana plant outside a Hermosa home bears a bullet hole from an early-morning shooting incident. Photo

A gunman settled an early-morning dispute by firing six shots at two men as they fled between close-packed homes in the heart of Hermosa. The shots missed their targets, shattering a bedroom window and leaving bullet holes in neighbors’ walls.

Officers found six shell casings from a .38 caliber handgun lying on the pavement, following the incident, which occurred about 1:40 a.m. Monday on quiet Loma Drive, one block south of upper Pier Avenue.

Police were seeking a Latino man, about 20 years old, 5-feet-9 and 150 pounds with long, curly hair, seen wearing a light shirt and blue jeans, and a second Latino about 17 years old, 5-feet-8 and 140 pounds with a shaved head, seen wearing a dark shirt and blue jeans.

“The two victims were involved in a physical fight with two suspects, and then fled between residences. One of the suspects followed the victims and fired a handgun. Neither of the victims was injured,” Detective Mick Gaglia said.

“The victims and witnesses described the suspect vehicle as a dark colored, four-door Honda car, possibly lowered,” he said. “The vehicle was last seen traveling towards Pier Avenue.”

A neighborhood resident watched the incident unfold after his dog began barking about 1:35 a.m.
“That’s about closing-the-bars time, so we’re used to it,” he said.

He went to a second-floor window overlooking Loma and saw a Honda four-door parked on the street facing north, with three people inside and a handful of people standing outside.

All appeared to be young, men, except for the passenger in the back seat of the car, who was smaller than the others and might have been female. The resident described the backseat passenger as “feisty” and “jumping around a lot.”

The group outside the car appeared agitated, the resident said. Suddenly two men broke away and ran down an “alley” between two homes, and as the resident crouched at his window, he saw a man break away from the group, run to the mouth of the alleyway, raise his right hand, aim a handgun and fire repeatedly.

“I saw flames coming from the barrel,” the resident said.

Although he later saw the .38 caliber shell casings, the resident said the shots sounded like they were fired from a toy gun. The gunman was about 20 feet behind his fleeing targets when he shot at them. The resident said the gunman appeared to be Caucasian.

The gunman returned to the car, began punching the driver in the face, pulled him from the car, and replaced him in the driver’s seat. The punched-out driver began walking quickly south on Loma.

The resident heard someone in the car calling “let’s go, let’s go,” and the car pulled from the curb, turned eastbound on Pier Avenue and disappeared.

Minutes later the punched-out man returned on foot and called down the alleyway, “Nick, are you okay?” before moving on.

Bullets struck at least two homes. In one home, a downstairs bedroom window was shattered. The room’s occupant was away on vacation, a property manager said.

Police urged anyone with information to contact Detective Jon Sibbald at (310) 318-0341 or, or to call the department at (310) 318-0360. ER


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