LAPD investigates slaying of 2 teens in Wilmington
As Los Angeles police investigated the two latest slayings in Wilmington, officials were planning a community meeting later this week to address the violence that has gripped the area since the beginning of the year.
Since January, seven people have been killed in Wilmington and several others have been wounded in a rash of shootings, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The community meeting is planned for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Will Hall Park, 325 N. Neptune Ave., in Wilmington. Three weeks ago, residents and city officials held marches to take back the streets in response to the violence.
The most recent slayings occurred Sunday evening when two teens were gunned down in the 500 block of Bay View Avenue.
Medrick A. Melgoza and Carolina Ramirez, both 16, were pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said. Law enforcement authorities were trying to determine why the two teens were killed.
"We haven't quite figured it out yet," LAPD Deputy Chief Patrick M. Gannon told The Times.
On Jan. 30, two people were shot to death and a third person was critically wounded near East Mauretania Street and Watson Avenue. Two days earlier, a 40-year-old man died after being struck by multiple gunshot rounds in in the 1100 block of King Avenue.
In another incident, an attempted murder suspect shot at LAPD detectives in an alley Jan. 31 as the officers were searching for a suspect. No injuries were reported in that shooting.
Police said the violence in January was sparked by disputes involving members of the notorious Wilmas 13 street gang, which has operated in the area for years.
The bloodshed appeared to have ebbed after police arrested a reputed Westside Wilmas 13 member, said Gannon, who commands the LAPD's South Bureau, which includes Wilmington.
That suspect was the same man who allegedly shot at detectives in the alley, the LAPD said. He was taken into custody after he had barricaded himself inside a Wilmington home Feb. 2.
Photo: LAPD officers at Sunday's shooting scene. Credit: KTLA-TV Channel 5