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Fatal South El Monte shooting occurred during party

August 14, 2010 |  2:48 pm

A woman who was killed and three men who were wounded early Saturday in South El Monte were at a party in a warehouse building when gunfire erupted, authorities said.

About 40 people, most of them in their early 20s, were in attendance when shots were fired shortly before 3 a.m. in an industrial area near Chico Avenue at East Rush Street, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Lt. Patrick Nelson said homicide detectives detained about 20 witnesses and were in the process of interviewing them Saturday.

He said the party was possibly a rave-style affair with alcohol but no apparent drug use.

“I doubt it was permitted, but I’m sure the investigators will look into it,” Nelson said.

The motivation for the shooting appears to be an altercation that broke out among some of the partygoers. It is unclear why they were fighting, Nelson said.

A sketchy description emerged of the attackers: two men on foot wearing hooded sweatshirts, possibly escaping the scene in a dark sedan after the shooting, Nelson said.

The three injured men were taken to a nearby hospital, where one was listed in critical condition and the others were in stable condition, Nelson said.

Since January 2007, at least 20 homicides have occurred within two miles of the location of Saturday's fatal shooting, according to data collected for The Times' interactive Homicide Report.

-- Garrett Therolf