Teenager shot to death while riding bike in South Los Angeles
A 14-year-old youth was shot and killed Wednesday night while riding a bicycle in South Los Angeles, the latest probable victim of surging violence between two gangs, police said.
Taburi Watson was riding his bike near St. Andrews Place and 87th Street about 7:25 p.m. when one or more assailants fired shots.
More than one bullet struck the teenager, who staggered a short distance from his bicycle and collapsed. Neighbors came outside after hearing shots to find him lying on the ground. Taburi was declared dead after being transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
His death is the fourth in December with probable links to two warring Crips gangs in the Manchester Square and Gramercy Park areas east of Inglewood, Los Angeles Police Det. Eric Crosson said. A family buried one of the victims Thursday, even as the county morgue was arranging to receive Watson's body.
One of the murders was especially high-profile.
Kashmier James, 25, was shot about 10:20 p.m. Christmas night after celebrating the holiday with family. She had stopped to visit a friend in the 1700 block of 85th Street near Western Avenue.
As James stood in the street outside her friend's home, two men in a blue Chevrolet Tahoe pulled up, police said. One man got out and fired nine shots at James, striking her at least once in the head. Her 3-year-old daughter witnessed the shooting from the back seat of James' car.
Relatives interviewed by KTLA-TV Channel 5 said James was not involved in gangs and was probably in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The office of City Councilman Bernard Parks has offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
The manner of her killing suggests that gang members were probably responsible, Det. Samuel Arnold said.
Watson, at the time of his shooting, was wearing clothes suggesting an affiliation with one of the warring gangs, Crosson said. He was technically in “safe” territory for that gang, but near the turf of the rival gang.
Crosson called the violence part of an “escalating feud,” but added, “I’ve been in this division 13 years and they’ve been shooting each other the entire time.”
Anyone with information should call detectives at (213) 485-1383.
-- Howard Blume
Map: Location of Wednesday's fatal shooting, shown in purple, as well as the location of the Christmas night shooting death of Kashmier James, marked with arrow. An additional 128 homicides have been reported within two miles since January 2007. Source: Homicide Report