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Police end evacuation of Inglewood area where family was shot

October 20, 2012 |  5:03 pm

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Police have called off the evacuation of an Inglewood neighborhood where five members of a family were shot Saturday morning by a masked gunman who remains at large.

Police ended the evacuation about 4 p.m. and shut down an emergency Red Cross shelter that was set up for residents.

The gunman shot five people, two of them fatally, during the 4 a.m. attack at a property in the 4900 block of West 99th Street, where a 400-square-foot bungalow was also torched, police said.

The owner of the property, who declined to give his name, said the suspected gunman lived on the property and had not paid rent for years. He said the suspect went to court to fight an eviction notice and lost his case Tuesday.

Firefighters were hauling out piles of debris and remnants of the collapsed roof from the charred house, searching for any sign of the suspect’s body. L.A. County Fire Capt. Tom Richards said the suspect was a “pack rat” and that fire officials had called in a ladder truck to help move and lift out the debris.

“That house was filled to the brim with stuff,” Richards said.

Inglewood Police Chief Mark Fronterotta described the suspect as a 55-year-old black man, 5 feet 6, 160 pounds, wearing a black baseball cap with possibly a white painter’s mask over his face. He had known the family at least eight years, according to Richards.

The father, 30, was shot multiple times while protecting his children, police said. He and his 4-year-old son died at a hospital after surgery.

“The father was found draped over two of the children, shielding them,” Fronterotta said.

The children's mother, 28, was shot in both legs but managed to jump over the property’s back fence with her 4-year-old son, Fronterotta said. Paramedics found her collapsed on the street.

Her 7-year-old daughter was shot in the chest. Both mother and daughter were in critical condition at a local hospital. A 6-year-old boy, who suffered a gunshot wound to the pelvis, was in stable condition. An 8-year-old boy escaped injury, Richards said.

Fanny Paiz, 43, who lives across the street from the crime scene, said she was awakened by the sound of gunfire.

“I heard at least five gunshots," Paiz said. “When I opened my window and looked out, I saw a man running to the back house across the street. It was burning.

“I heard a man yelling.… Then I saw a lady run out into the street with a child in her arms. She was bleeding. She was standing in the middle of the street with the child, whose face was covered in blood. She fell down, screaming, ‘He’s shooting me. He’s shooting me.’”

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-- Louis Sahagun in Inglewood

Photo: Los Angeles County firefighters sift through the debris of a burned home on West 99th Street, the scene of a deadly shooting in Inglewood on Saturday. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

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