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Man shot at after brush with taggers in La Puente [Updated]

November 15, 2010 | 10:53 am

An apparent good Samaritan was shot at by two gang affiliates after he tried to stop the duo from tagging a wall in La Puente, authorities said Monday.

The man was driving near Main Street and Chatterton Avenue around 8:30 p.m. Sunday when he saw two men spray-painting an apartment complex. He pulled his car up behind theirs, and before any exchange of words, the alleged vandals got in their car and drove off.

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The man, 36, drove away in the opposite direction, but before long, the suspects turned around and started chasing him, authorities said. The men, known gang affiliates and possibly members of a local gang themselves, fired several rounds into the man’s car, shattering his side windows and striking a couple of nearby homes, police said.

The man was not struck but the broken glass cut his arms, said Sgt. Gerard Velona of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

When deputies stopped the suspects’ car, the driver was arrested without incident, but the passenger ran and was found later by a K-9 unit while attempting to hide in a parking lot.

Raul Montezdeoca, 26, and Edmund Gail, 21, were booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and shooting at an inhabited dwelling, Velona said.

Authorities acknowledged the man’s good intentions but urged the public not to try to stop vandals on their own.

“Use your cellphone, get away from the situation,” Velona said. “What we’re finding with gang members, even taggers, is someone nearby is acting as a lookout and he’s normally armed.”

The lookout, Velona said, is there to protect against rival taggers or gang members, but in incidents such as this one, the lookout might shoot at anyone who interferes.

[Updated 11 a.m.: Nearly 80 serious violent crimes were reported in La Puente in the six months ending Oct. 10, the most recent period for which complete data is available, according to The Times' interactive database Crime L.A. During that period, 51 aggravated assaults were reported in the city of about 41,000.]


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-- Robert Faturechi