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Los Angeles riots: Remember the 63 people who died

April 26, 2012 | 11:26 am

Map: Deaths during the riots

More than 60 people lost their lives amid the looting and fires during the Los Angeles riots that ravaged the city over five days starting April 29, 1992. Ten were shot to death by law enforcement officials.

Forty-four people died in other homicides or incidents tied to the rioting. By year’s end, Los Angeles had 1,096 homicides, a record. 1992 remains L.A.'s deadliest year. The exact number of people who died in the riots is open to debate, but The Times confirmed 63 victims.

The Times has researched the deaths and produced a searchable map and database.

Here is a sampling of those who died:

Matthew Haines, a 32-year-old white man, was beaten and shot in the head Thursday, April 30, 1992, in Long Beach. Haines and his nephew, Scott Coleman, 26, were pulled from Haines' motorcycle at the corner of Lemon Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway. Haines was beaten, kicked and fatally shot in the head. Coleman was shot but survived.

Brian E. Andrew, a 30-year-old black man, was shot and killed Thursday, April 30, 1992, near Rosecrans and Chester avenues in Compton. Andrew, who worked odd jobs in construction, went out Thursday night and never returned. After trying to locate her son, Gloria Andrew filed a missing persons report six days later. The next day, a Compton police officer knocked on her door to tell her the news. Andrew was seen running from a nearby shoe store with other looters, police said, and was carrying boxes of shoes and a large bottle of beer. Andrew had dropped the shoes and was waving the bottle when a Compton police officer caught up with him in an alley and shot him once in the face as they grappled, police said.

Juan V. Salgado, a 20-year-old Latino, was found dead May 20, 1992, inside a burned clothing store in the 3100 block of South Main Street called Collective Merchandise Inc., where he was last seen.

Howard Epstein, a 45-year-old white man, was shot and killed Thursday, April 30, 1992, near Slauson and 7th avenues in Hyde Park. Epstein, who had flown from his Northern California home to check on his South Los Angeles metal manufacturing business, was struck in the head by a bullet that apparently came from a pickup truck that had pulled alongside his car. His car careened into a liquor store parking lot, where a crowd quickly gathered. Onlookers broke into applause when someone yelled that the dead driver was white, witnesses said, and Epstein's cellphone, camera, briefcase and pistol were stolen. Hostility was so intense after the shooting of Epstein that detectives towed away Epstein's Thunderbird while his body was still behind the wheel -- an unusual move.

Edward Song Lee, an 18-year-old Asian man, was shot and killed Thursday, April 30, 1992, in Koreatown. Lee, a Korean American, was attempting to protect shops near 3rd Street and Hobart Boulevard when he was apparently shot by fellow Korean Americans who mistook him for a looter.

Aaron Ratinoff, a 68-year-old white man, was killed Friday, May 1, 1992, in the 11600 block of Gateway Boulevard in Sawtelle. Ratinoff was strangled by a supermarket produce manager in a dispute over corn husks. Ratinoff would never have ended up at the Bob's Market on Gateway Boulevard in West Los Angeles if the store where he normally shopped had remained open during the riots. The produce manager apparently got angry when Ratinoff dropped some corn husks on the floor while shopping for vegetables, and the pair tussled. Coroner's spokesman Bob Dambacher said the criterion his office has used for riot-related deaths was simple: "Would this person have died at that particular time and that particular place if the riots had not occurred?"



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Front pages from 1992

--Maloy Moore