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Homicide Report: 20 killings last week in L.A. County, 3 in Long Beach [Updated]

May 11, 2010 |  8:00 am

Map shows locations of 16 of 20 homicides reported by coroner from May 4 to early May 10. Click for more details.
Coroner's officials reported 20 killings between May 4 and early Monday, bringing the year-to-date total to 242, according to data collected for the Times' Homicide Report database.

The total was more than double the previous week and included several shootings that left two or more people dead. At least 19 involved guns. The cause of death in the most recent case, involving an unidentified Latino believed to be 25 to 30, was not immediately available.

[Update 2 p.m.: Coroner's officials identified the male as Brandon Garrido, 16. He was shot and killed in Boyle Heights Monday.]

At least four homicides were tied to family issues. Authorities said Diane Newlander, 73, was shot to death by her husband in Beverly Hills in an apparent murder-suicide.

Three members of one family in Hawaiian Gardens, a father, daughter and son, were gunned down in their home by the daughter's ex-boyfriend. Joseph Mercado, 26, was charged Monday with three counts of murder in Los Angeles Superior Court. Authorities allege he went room by room targeting the mother of his child and her family. Mercado was shot and wounded by a sheriff's deputy as he left the home about 4 a.m. May 6.

The city of Long Beach experienced three homicides over the week, all possibly gang-related, according to police. The three killings do not including the shooting death Monday of a woman on Ocean Boulevard in what authorities called a family dispute.

Lee Kinikini, 25, was shot to death Tuesday, May 4, in the 700 block of Harding Street, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

Officers responded to reports of gunfire shortly before 5 p.m. and discovered Kinikini's body with gunshot wounds to his upper body. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The preliminary investigation found that Kinikini was standing in a driveway when he was approached by an unknown suspect and shot several times, police said. The assailant was last seen fleeing south down a nearby alley on foot.

Joshua Gaither, 30, died Wednesday, May 5, in the 2100 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, coroner's officials said.

Police found Gaither on the sidewalk suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the upper and lower body in the early morning hours. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

And Mauricio Sotelo, 20, was shot to death Thursday, May 6, on the corner of 14th Street and Cedar Avenue, according to the coroner's office.

Police responded to a shooting call about 1:11 a.m and found Sotelo suffering from a gunshot wound to his torso. Sotelo was taken to a hospital, where he later died, police said.

Investigators have neither a suspect nor a motive in the case.

The Times' Homicide Report provides an interactive map and database of all homicides in Los Angeles County reported by the coroner since Jan. 1, 2007.

-- Sarah Ardalani

Map shows locations of 17 of 20 homicides between May 4 to May 10. Two others occurred in the San Fernando Valley. Coroner's officials have not provided a location for the 20th. Click to learn more details on The Times' Homicide Report.

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