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LAPD announces $75,000 reward in shooting of three at South L.A. adult day-care center

April 13, 2011 |  2:45 pm

Map shows location of shooting in black, as well as recent reported crimes in brown and red. Click through for more information in Crime L.A.It was lunchtime at the South L.A. adult day-care center and a group was gathered in the backyard when shots suddenly rang out: 10 semiautomatic rounds intended for someone else.

One woman was hit in the head, a man was shot in the face and another woman's head was grazed. The three adults, all of whom suffer from "profound mental challenges," are expected to recover, authorities said, but the culprits of the March shooting are still on the loose.

LAPD investigators, who have acknowledged they're short on details, announced a $75,000 reward Wednesday for information into the shooting.

What police do know is that two men were near the 2000 block of Vernon Avenue in Vermont Square, while a third likely waited nearby in a light-colored compact car. They fired at two other men running past the day-care center, and missed.

The chain-link fence that separated the facility's backyard from the street couldn't shield those inside from the bullets. Though violence between the Rollin 40s and the Van Ness Gangsters is common on both sides of Vernon Avenue, detectives say they're unsure if the shooting was gang-related.

The 31-year-old man shot in the face was at the LAPD's 77th Street station for the news conference announcing the reward. The media were asked not to photograph him because his family feared he'd be targeted again. He walked into the gathering holding his mother's hand, a thick scar snaking from his mustache up to his cheekbone.

His mother, who asked not to be named, said that when she rushed to the hospital after the shooting her autistic son seemed not to understand what had happened. "He just was saying 'pow, pow, pow,' " she said.

Investigators say they're confident the daytime March 7 shooting had other witnesses. "If this community can't protect these innocent victims, then we're really at a loss in South L.A.," said Capt. Dennis Kato.

Many of the adults who attend the day care, a small facility that looks like a residential home with picnic tables out back, suffer severe mental disabilities, which has been a challenge for detectives seeking witness accounts.

Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at (213) 473-4861, or after-hours at (877) 527-3247.


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Image: Map shows the location of the shooting in black, as well as recent reported crimes in brown and red. Credit: Mapping L.A.