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Outrage grows over killing of baby boy; officials expected to offer $50,000 reward


The Los Angeles City Council is expected to offer a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who killed a baby boy in Van Nuys over the weekend.

Councilman Tony Cardenas, who represents the district, is seeking the reward as outrage over the baby's killing continued to grow. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa asked for the public's help in bringing the killers to justice, calling the shooting an "obscene and unspeakable tragedy."

Marlene Ramirez and Frank Garcia didn't have a lot, but they were devoted to their 4-month-old son, Andrew, relatives said Monday. "He was their life," said Veronica Munoz, Ramirez's cousin.

On Monday, Garcia, 21, a warehouse worker, and Ramirez, 18, were making funeral arrangements for their baby, a day after he was killed and two others were wounded in what police say was a gang-related shooting in Van Nuys.

The killing happened about 1 a.m. Sunday in the 14300 block of Kittridge Street as the young couple prepared to drive home from a friend's baptismal celebration, Los Angeles police said.

Two unidentified male suspects remained at large and were last seen fleeing on foot. One was described as 18-to-22 years old and about 5-foot-9 with a shaved head. The other is about 5-foot-5 and weighs about 200 pounds, police said.

Witnesses spotted a brown pickup filled with recyclables leaving the area shortly after the shooting. Police said the vehicle could be linked to the crime.

The family's Saturday evening had started out happily at the baptismal party at the Bernardi Multipurpose Center on Tyrone Avenue. After leaving the party about midnight, they agreed to drop off Anna Contreras, 28, a friend who lived nearby, before driving to their North Hollywood home, Munoz said.

Andrew had begun fussing, Munoz said her cousin told her, and the couple parked their car outside Contreras' house so that Contreras could give him a bottle. Garcia got out of the car and was chatting with friends when two men approached the group on foot and a confrontation took place, Munoz said.

Police said the suspects fired six rounds from a shotgun, striking Contreras and baby Andrew in the head. They also hit Eric Ramirez, 18, a family friend who was standing outside the car with Garcia. The mother, in the car with Contreras, was not injured.

The 4-month-old was airlifted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where he underwent surgery. Munoz said doctors were initially upbeat about his condition but about 4 a.m. informed the family that he had died.

"Marlene said, 'Why did God bring him to me if he was going to take him away so quickly?'" Munoz said tearfully.

Contreras, who is pregnant, underwent surgery at a hospital and is expected to survive, said LAPD Det. Robert Bub. Eric Ramirez suffered minor injuries and was treated at a hospital and released, said his mother, Maria Ramirez, who went to the scene Monday.

Maria Ramirez said her son told her that the two men who approached the group demanded to know where they were from. Her son responded "Barrio Van Nuys" and the two men fired at them, Maria Ramirez said.

Police said that Eric Ramirez is a known gang member and that the baby's father has had "minor" associations with gangs. Family members said neither is affiliated with gangs.

After the shooting, Marlene Ramirez ran down the street with Andrew in her arms, looking for help, her cousin said. A neighbor persuaded the young mother to sit on the grass and wait for an ambulance, Munoz said.

On Monday, a trail of blood drops leading from the site of the shooting to the end of the block could be seen on the sidewalk. A teddy bear memorial, with votive candles and balloons, marked the spot where Andrew was hit.

Frank Garcia works in a warehouse, and Marlene Ramirez has a job at McDonald's, Munoz said. Marlene Ramirez is attending a local continuation school to finish her high school classes, the cousin said.

"She wanted to get a better job for Andrew," Munoz said.

The gritty neighborhood where the shooting took place is made up of modest homes and apartments and is just blocks from the Van Nuys police station and civic buildings, including the Van Nuys Courthouse. Neighbors said that they are used to police helicopters and sirens but that shootings on their block are rare.

Violent crime has generally declined in Van Nuys over the last two years, Los Angeles Police Department records show. Homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults fell 25% between 2007 and the year to date.

Gang-related crime has also fallen, said LAPD Deputy Chief Michel Moore. In 2002, there were 49 victims of gang violence compared with 18 for the year to date, Moore said. But police cautioned that spikes in gang-related shootings occur despite strides in reducing crime.

Neighbors and relatives said they hoped to see quick arrests.

"It's such a tragic thing for anybody to die," said Johnna Hodges, 58, who lives three houses away from where the shooting took place. "But a baby -- it just tugs at your heart."

-- Catherine Saillant and Ann M. Simmons

Photo: Andrew Garcia, a 4-month-old killed in an apparent gang-related attack early Sunday, is remembered at a vigil on the site where the shooting took place. The family was returning home from a baptismal party. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (50)

Tony Cardenas is putting up reward money of $50,000? What a joke! A City Councilmember who loves to rub elbows and have dinner with all of the San Fernando Valley low life gangsters thugs is trying to help out with a reward. He supports and funds this type of lifesytle in the first place - with organization like Communities In Schools or better said - Cholos in Showbusiness.
Honestly, the first mistake was Marlene Ramirez's little brother, Eric, who promptly responded by saying, "Barrio Van Nuys".

So what if the party was for the baby? Does that make it okay for the kid to be around armed thugs and felons? To be out that late? I could have a party for Mother Theresa that ran until 5 am filled with drugs and hookers and it still would not be alright.

Where do all these ignorant hateful people come from? Do you really live in my city?

When something like this happens the "righteous" are always there to place the blame and to offer violent solutions. It's the fault of all those "liberals, or the ACLU, or the LAPD. They spout off about illegal immigrants, without understanding that most gang members are not illegals. They assume because of a person's last name that he or she must be Mexican citizen and therefore both an illegal alien and a gang member. They suggest executions of anyone suspected of being a gang member.

I can understand why a young person would find gangs attractive. If you are targeted and looked down upon by the majority of people because of your race or your last name or where you live, if you are given a substandard education, if you are not given alternative activities, if you are not given the same opportunities as those of higher income brackets the gang may be all you have. What would you honestly do as a young person in those situations? You can say "Oh I would be different!" all you want. The fact is most of you would probably follow the same path as these gang members if you were in their shoes.

If we want to stop gang activity we all have to work together to reach children before they become disillusioned by our society. We need to stop using stereotypes and looking down upon those who may not have as much money as we do, or live in homes as nice as ours. Change your attitudes first! If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

This will never stop as long as families deny that their loved ones belong to gangs. The first step to recovery ...

our life is full of choices. should have left early. we all know the people that are out walking in the middle of the night. when asked "where are you from" or "where you from", swallow your pride and protect your family... not your stupid "barrio". again- choices.

Unfortunately these 18 and 21 year old parents played with fire and got burned in the worse way. They were out at 1am for a friends' baptism. The father is a gangmember and these "parents" are hanging out at 1am with gangmembers in a gang neighborhood. Guess what? This is beyond stupidity. Stay at home and take care of your baby. This poor baby had no chance in this world with parents like that. Let's hope the retaliation for this murder kills other gangmembers and no good citizens get caught in the cross-fire. And Chandler Hill regarding your comment about Polanski; he gave a 13 year old girl alcohol, got her intoxicated, and then raped her and anally sodomized her. What if this happened to someone you love, like a 13 year old sister or daughter? He needs to be sentenced for this crime he has admitted to.

Maybe the Mr. Ramirez should pay the reward, since his gang is responsible for this death. Gang members are weak scum that play victim when it suits them. Gang members are tools for the NWO, who use them as a cause to give police greater powers at the expense of us all.

The saddest thing is that baby is the innocent victim, but it's parents must bare some burden when they stop and talk to known gang members.

I don't know what details of this story I believe at this point. Today's coverage seems to give that family's side as opposed to yesterday's police version. Baptismal party? OK, but why the late hour? Dropping the babysitter off? OK, but that just HAPPENED to put them back around Dad's gang buddy? These are the things the family's story minimizes, and while I'm willing to consider that they didn't bring the baby to a gang party, I'm not buying that this was a wrong place/wrong time scenario. At very least, they were on the street talking with a gang member after midnight with their baby, and that's just negligent.

Let's make this clear, it's always sad for a baby to die, But in this case the baby's reletives were in a gang, so I would not ever take my kid to a party were I know gang members are gonna be cause always trouble follows. And the city dosn't really care, these officials know exactly were these gang members are but they don't do anything till something like this happens, which is stupid. Everyone is to blame for this infants death. The City, the Parents, the son who was a gang member, and the shooter. The government lets these gangster do what they do to keep us the people in fear.

So many judgements against the parents. Why shouldn't parents be able to take their baby out at night? So many justified comments against the scum perpetrators. All talk. Instead of hiding inside in fear, when are people going to join together and eradicate these evil gangs et al themselves? The more you sit by and moan about your frustration and outrage, nothing gets done to stop it. It's growing like a cancer and needs to be cut out. Who is going to do it? Only the people joined together for one purpose can do it.

So if you mention the NEW WORLD ORDER or the Bilderberg Group your comments dont get posted. Thanks you globalist scum for taking away my right to speech.

We know that the LA times is a bilderberg memeber.
You can not win, Freedom will prevail.

When gang bangers (criminals) want justice, it is the same as a burglar suing the homeowner for injuries sustained during the burglary and getting $$$. It's unfortunate that an innocent baby has been killed, but for all the justice that they yell and demand, the screams for justice by those whom these "victims" have victimized is LOUDER. Sympathy? I have no sympathy for an injured burglar.... or a victimized gang banger. You reap what you sow.

Seems to me a lot of you are missing the point here. Whether it was 1am or 1pm, little Andrew and the others should have been safe to be out on the streets. Our so call Mayor, Council people and others spend too much time and resources keeping their jobs and traveling instead of working to protect the citizens. I'm sick of gangs being able to dictate our lives and where we can go or places to avoid. There should be more rounding up of these uneducated, immoral scum like the Sheriff's did last week, then throw them directly in jail and after doing their time send the illegal ones back to wherever they come from. I will agree however, that if you have a child or are just holding one, you should not be socializing w/ gang members in any capacity.

I have been saying it for years, Child services should start dealing with active gang parents. The lifestyle alone puts the children at risk of danger, prolongs the life of the gang through the generational curse of ignorance, initiation, incarceration, alienation, and subsequent procreation which is not cost effective for tax payers nor the victims which in most cases do not pay into it.

The long term benefit, will reduce crime, eliminate the expenses for lack of self progression, re-establishing hope, which produces esteem, that develops into motivation, and turns into action, that produces positive results.

Give our kids a chance, not a handout. Parents that subject their children consistently to negligent harm, should not be allowed to keep them.

would someone please tell me why would any mother be out at 1:00 am in the morning?

Aside from that, I hope they catch the creep that killed this child!

I hope they get the person/s responsible for this crime, but what was the baby doing out with his gang father and mother at that time of night? In some cases, we're responsible for our own misfortunes.

Gang killings of small children in LA are not a priority for the DA. Low income people can die but we have to save our tax dollars to extradite Roman Polanski.

Re: Roman Polanski arrest.

Upon reading the vitriolic reactions on Roman Polanski's arrest, it seems that when it comes to sex, the public, legislators, and law enforcement agencies demand rigid enforcement of any existing laws, in addition to the harshest penalties available.

The reality in this case is that the alleged victim bears Mr. Polanski no ill will and has forgiven him for his actions.

Meanwhile the real criminals go unpunished. In fact they have not even been charged - let alone prosecuted. Specifically I am referring to George Bush,
Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleeza Rice for lying and distorting the facts about Iraq to start an unnecessary war resulting in over 5,ooo dead American service men and women, over 100,000 civilian casualties, 30,000 injured---many critically and permanently disfigured and maimed. Not to mention the trillion plus dollars this war has cost thus far!

Where is the the outrage and demand for justice by the authorities and the public? Why are they so silent? Why are the above criminals still free, while we continue to tinker with an insignificant event involving only two people over 30 years ago, with no harm done? Why?

First off it was a baptismal party where families get together an celebrate the christening of their baby child. They preferred to take their baby with them instead of leaving them with some babysitter who might not care at all about the poor baby. and don't act like you would never take your baby out either. you want to socialize with other people and how where they suppose to know that those thugs gangsters would shoot at them? and van nuys isn't that bad of a neighborhood there are thugs everywhere now rich ones poor ones and they live all over the place. it wasn't their fault at all. But as long as we live in a world and society where music revolves around about how great it is to be a gangster nothing will change at all. because it doesn't matter if you live a poor neighborhood its about the society if a teenager sees that being a gangster is "in" they will join not knowing the dangers of it.

Being a parent, I truly sympathize with the unnecessary and violent loss of any helpless infant.
The real question about the tragedy here is why in the hell did the parents have that 4 MONTH OLD BABY OUTSIDE OF A PARTY AT 1 AM IN THE MORNING !!!!!! Hello !!! Anybody home? That should be child abuse in and of itself. I sure hope you had a great time. Must have been a real dope kickback, dawg! Even worse, to be hanging around in a group, outside of a parked car, in a known Gang area. Were you also wearing neon gang colored targets?
The idea behind the custom of getting a baby sitter for your child, when you and hubby-banger go out, is you are supposed to leave the baby with the babysitter...AT YOUR HOME! If you take the baby sitter with you, she is no longer a baby sitter, she is part of the party. Did your mother take you out to parties, at 1 am in he morning, when you were 4 months old ?
The parents may not have pulled the trigger, but they sure as hell are 50% responsible for the death of their son...If he had not been there, he would not have been shot..very simple commonsense.
But that's ok...you can have more.

Parenting is one of the most challenging jobs out there, but unfortunately it is the only challenging job that requires absolutely no training, certification or education. Anybody can be a parent, so some parents, like these young kids, end up making decisions that prove tragic. I lived many years in gang-infested neighborhoods and I survived my making the correct decisions. Thankfully I now live in an area where I don't have to worry about my safety as much.

Gang violence puts every resident in danger every day. This little innocent child paid the ultimate price for the violence that comes with a lawless community. Our LAPD has been cherry picking the laws they are willing to enforce in our community. With special order 40 and sanctuary policies, it's a wonder that this sort of thing doesn't happen more often. We are all at risk when the rights of criminals have more value with our law enforcement than the rights of citizens.

End all sanctuary policies and enforce the immigration laws set forth in the 1986 amnesty act and the laws will be fair across the board instead of allowing every illegal immigrant a free pass to break law that citizens are expected to obey.

The criminals responsible for this murder are probably already known to the LAPD. They have most likely caught and released these guys into our community several times instead of proceeding to deport them because of this insane policy. At some point, law enforcement needs to wake up and start working for the citizens of this town again. Throw these hoodlums OUT.

To everyone calling the parents irresponsible (especially Richard),

I work with the Father and he was always a proud parent who worked hard to give Andrew the best he could. You say he was irresponsible for having his child out late at a party. It was a family celebration for a another family members baptism and many relatives stay late at these gatherings since they are at a family members home. It wasn't like they were out at a random house party in someones backyard where there was a mix crowd. Yes, they had Andrew out late, but they were dropping off a friend on their way home. Instead of giving your condolences to the family who just lost their first child, you point the finger at them to blame for this tragedy. They loved their child and just because they had him out late doesn't mean it's their fault their child was murdered. In any murder case such as this, there isn't anyone else to blame but the murderer them self.

Why are you blaming the victims? These people were out at a party! Do you check your watch every second of every day? This is a terrible situation! Its not the victims fault! Blame the gang bangers who shot them. The family was doing no wrong being at a Baptismal celebration. Also if you read the details it says that they were in the car, dropped a friend off, and stopped to get a bottle for the child. It is cliche to say but they were in the wrong place at the very wrong time. Again blame the suspects not the victim.

First, nowhere in the article does it say that the baptismal party was for the baby who was killed. Second, even if it was for the baby 1:00am, is too late to have a baby that age out and about. Third Eric Ramirez should have rubbed two brain cells together and thought about the baby and the others in the vehicle and just answered that he and the others were civilians and not in a gang. This would have more than likely avoided a confrontation. Fourth and most important, no one has the right regardless of the hour of day to harm anyone especialy a baby. If caught and convicted these individuals should be condemed to death and sent to Death Row. I think God has a special place for those who harm our children.

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