The Homicide Report

The Times chronicles L.A. County
homicide victims

Category: Westlake

Westlake: Ramon Eduardo Araujo, 35

September 25, 2009 | 11:33 pm

The location where Ramon Eduardo Araujo was shot. Click for the Westlake Mapping L.A. page to learn more about the demographics of the neighborhood.

Ramon Eduardo Araujo, a 35-year-old Latino, died on Monday, Sept. 21, after he was shot in MacArthur Park in Westlake, according to Los Angeles County coroner's officials.

Los Angeles police are searching for two suspects, believed to be gang members, involved in the shooting, which left another man in critical condition.

The victims were sitting on the grass in the northwest corner of the park about 10:30 a.m. when they were approached by two men who began exchanging words with them, said LAPD Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz.

One of the suspects opened fire on Araujo, killing him. The same gunman fired multiple times at the second man, who was in critical condition at a local hospital, Diaz said.

The incident at MacArthur Park marked the first shooting there since January 2008 and the first fatal shooting at the park since August 2006, Diaz said.

Once considered a magnet for violence, drug dealing and other crimes, the park has undergone a revival in recent years as the LAPD beefed up patrols and city leaders invested in the site. Among the features of the revived park is a new soccer field that has been popular with Westlake District residents.

"Anytime we are talking about a crime in MacArthur Park, there's an added dimension," Diaz said. "It's pretty bold to do this in the day when there's lots of people around."

Diaz noted that there is an extensive network of cameras in and around the park, and he expects arrests will be made.

-- Andrew Blankstein and Anthony Pesce

Follow The Homicide Report on Twitter @latimeshomicide.

Map: The location where Ramon Eduardo Araujo was shot. Click for the Westlake Mapping L.A. page to learn more about the demographics of the neighborhood.


Westlake: Brent Lavorne Moore, 18

September 25, 2009 | 10:05 am


IMG_4334

Brent Lavorne Moore, an 18-year-old black man, died on Saturday, Sept. 19, after he was shot in the 200 block of South Witmer Street in Westlake, authorities said.

Sgt. Michael Mabie of the Los Angeles Police Department said Moore was a Crips gang member of an unknown clique and was killed after two men walked up and shot him multiple times before fleeing.

He said three men were standing in front of the Pan American restaurant and club about 1:45 a.m. when a car carrying two gang members, reportedly from the Temple Street Gang, drove by, and one of the men inside said something to the group.

The car then circled back around and one of the men inside shot at the three men, striking one in the chest, one in the back and one in the hand, police said. Mabie said the three injured men also were gang members and that security guards returned fire and the vehicle sped away.

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz

Follow The Homicide Report on Twitter @latimeshomicide.

Credit: Sarah Ardalani / Los Angeles Times


Westlake: Jerome Downs, 21

September 8, 2009 | 10:23 pm

The location of Jerome Downs shooting. Click for demographic information about this area. Jerome Downs, a 21-year-old black man, died Sunday Sept. 6 after he was shot at 4th Street and Boylston Street in Westlake, authorities said.

Downs and another man were sitting in a vehicle when someone walked up to their car and shot them both in the torso, said Officer Sara Faden of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Both men were taken to a hospital – the other man, who was not identified, survived his injuries.

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz and Anthony Pesce

Follow the Homicide Report on Twitter @latimeshomicide.

Map: The location of Jerome Downs' shooting. Click for Westlake's Mapping L.A. page, which compiles demographic information about the neighborhood.


Dispatch: 'There was always a problem over there with fighting or drugs'

September 5, 2009 | 12:51 pm

The house at West 3rd Street and South Coronado street in Westlake where Juan Velasquez, 29-year-old Latino, lived and was found dead the evening of Aug. 24. Credit: Anthony Pesce / Los Angeles Times

Juan Velasquez, a 29-year-old Latino, was found in his backyard late on the evening of Monday, Aug. 24. He'd been shot at least four times in his head, neck and arm, and he was pronounced dead on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

The location of Juan Velasquez's shooting. Click for demographic information about this area.

Velasquez lived in a small house with three roommates at the corner of West 3rd Street and South Coronado street in Westlake. Prior to the shooting, all four tenants had been told to vacate the home by the end of September because it had become a neighborhood magnet for loud parties and “weirdos,” said Ahmed Abdel Fatah, who helps manage the property.

The house had become so notorious for noise,  alcohol, and people coming and going at all hours that the police were investigating the complaints. In fact, said Det. Chris Linscomb, authorities had planned a response -- for later on the day that Velasquez was pronounced dead -- to attempt to mitigate the problem.

Linscomb said the motive in the killing is still under investigation, but he did have a few theories. He said he suspects Velasquez may have owed someone money, or that he could have made an enemy of someone in the area.

Police have one male suspect in custody whom they cannot identify because he is a minor, Linscomb said. He added that the suspect is likely not the only person involved in the killing, and that police are still looking for others.

It was not clear what time the shooting took place. Linscomb said police initially went to the home at about 8:30 p.m., when they received a report of shots being fired. At that time, he said, officers could find no witnesses to the shooting.

Later the same evening, Velasquez’s body was discovered in the backyard, hidden from view. Linscomb declined to provide information about why the police returned to the scene but said he suspected Velasquez had been shot earlier in the evening, since no more reports of shots fired nearby were made that night.

Velasquez was pronounced dead at 12:11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25, according to coroner’s officials.

Abdel Fatah said Velasquez was generally a quiet, nice person, but he had shown signs of trouble. He said two weeks before the shooting, Velasquez was ill and unable to leave his home because of a “stab-like” injury to his right chest near his shoulder. Abdel Fatah and his co-workers brought him food and medicine for several days until he recovered.

Abdel Fatah also said he had heard from neighbors and other people in the area that Velasquez and his roommates were operating an after-hours bar in the home, regularly playing loud music and charging people for alcohol.

“There were people in and out of there at all hours,” he said. “There was always a problem over there with fighting or drugs … the neighbors would complain about bottles in the back of the house.”

Now, he said, Velasquez’s three roommates have left and not returned.

-- Anthony Pesce

Follow the Homicide Report on Twitter @latimeshomicide.

Photo: The house at West 3rd Street and South Coronado street in Westlake where Juan Velasquez lived and was found dead the evening of Aug. 24. Credit: Anthony Pesce / Los Angeles Times


Westlake: Juan Velasquez, 29

September 3, 2009 |  4:07 pm

The location of Juan Velasquez's shooting. Click for demographic information about this area. Juan Velasquez, a 29-year-old Latino, was shot several times in the head, neck and arm and died Aug. 25. in the2600 block of West 3rd Street in Westlake, according to Los Angeles County coroner's officials.

Velasquez was found dead with several gunshot wounds in a backyard at 12:11 a.m., said Ed Winter, a spokesman for the coroner's office.

-- Anthony Pesce


Westlake: Oscar Orlando Lopez-Hernandez, 40

August 25, 2009 | 10:24 pm
The location of Oscar Lopez-Hernandez's shooting. Click for demographic information about this area. Oscar Orlando Lopez-Hernandez, a 40-year-old Latino, was shot several times at Ocean View Avenue and South Coronado Streetin Westlake and died Thursday, Aug. 20, according to Los Angeles County coroner's officials.

Ed Winter, a spokesman for the coroner's office, said Lopez-Hernandez was walking down the street when someone came up to him and shot him several times. The shooting happened at 7:33 p.m. and Lopez-Hernandez died in a hospital at 8:13 p.m., Winter said.

-- Anthony Pesce

Westlake: Jose Jimenez, 36

July 17, 2009 |  3:30 pm

Jose Jimenez, a 36-year-old Latino, was shot and died on July 10. He was shot in the 1200 block of West 8th Street in Westlake, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

Craig Harvey, a spokesman for the coroner's office, said Jimenez was shot during a robbery at a market. The shooting happened about 10:15 p.m. and he was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead at 10:54 p.m.

-- Anthony Pesce



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About the Reporters
The Homicide Report is compiled using information from the Los Angeles County coroner's office, local law enforcement agencies and the Los Angeles Times. It is written by Times staff writers.


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