4 KILLED IN SEPARATE SHOOTINGS; POLICE CITE VALLEY GANG ACTIVITY.
Four people were killed and a fifth wounded Sunday in a series of shootings in the San Fernando Valley Sunday that police said may be gang-related.
Eddie Marquez, 21, died in a drive-by shooting on Cayuga Avenue in Pacoima around 12:30 a.m. Another man at the scene survived with a bullet wound to the leg.
At roughly the same time, about a mile away, a lone assailant shot 17-year-old Elmer Alexander Ortiz to death in the San Fernando Gardens housing complex, leaving him crumpled on the sidewalk across Lehigh Avenue from the neighborhood church.
At about 6 a.m., a third man was gunned down after an angry encounter at Hart Street and Simpson Avenue in North Hollywood between rival gang members, said Sgt. Christopher Vasquez.
A male juvenile was shot and killed near Stagg Street and Morella Avenue in North Hollywood about 9:30 p.m., police said. The youth apparently was left lying in the street, but details remained sketchy late Sunday.
Police said Sunday the Pacoima slayings might be connected. However, there was no indication the North Hollywood slaying was related.
``We have not eliminated the possibility that it was the same suspects involved,'' said Los Angeles police Detective Frank Bishop, who added that the shootings appear to be part of a recent spate of gang violence in Pacoima.
Sunday afternoon, police arrested Jacob Bailey, 18, of Pacoima on suspicion of murder in connection with Ortiz's death and said they were also investigating whether he was involved in the drive-by shooting on Cayuga.
In San Fernando Gardens, residents gathered Sunday around the blood-stained sidewalk where Ortiz died. They described him as an innocent victim of a conflict between rival gangs, one from the Gardens and another from a nearby neighborhood.
``Right now, it's a war,'' said Steve Gomez, 13, who was visiting his aunt's home on Lehigh Avenue at the time of the shooting. ``This neighborhood's deadly.''
Although Ortiz did not belong to a gang, neighbors said, he was friendly with some local gang members and shared their taste in baggy clothing. Residents speculated that a member of the rival gang came to the neighborhood early Sunday, saw Ortiz's clothes and fired.
``He didn't look for trouble,'' said one area resident, who asked not to be identified. ``He wasn't into drugs. The only reason he got hurt was because of the way he dressed.''
Police said they were at a loss to say why Ortiz had been killed. Ortiz had been talking with friends on the street when the gunman approached on foot, officers said.
``We don't know why he was singled out,'' Bishop said.
Gomez said he heard an argument, followed by about four shots.
On Cayuga Avenue, friends of Marquez placed flowers and candles by the curb where he was shot, near the intersection with Pierce Street.
One man, who didn't give his name, said Marquez was attending Mission College at the time of his death.
``He was trying to make his life better,'' he said, adding that Marquez was a good friend. ``If you respected him, he respected you.''
Police say Marquez and another man were hit by bullets fired from a dark-colored car, possibly a Honda. Authorities did not release the survivor's name Sunday, noting that he was a witness to the crime.
Although the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office said Marquez lived on Terra Bella Street in Arleta, Cayuga Street residents said he lived nearby and often hung out in the area.
In North Hollywood, Vasquez said a gang member in his 20s died from an upper-body gunshot wound.
The dead man was a passenger in a car when the shooter and an accomplice drove up beside them at Hart Street and Simpson Avenue, Vasquez said.
``Words were exchanged over gang affiliation, and one of the suspects in a small, gray, foreign vehicle produced a handgun and fired several shots at the two victims,'' he said.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Mar 16, 1998|
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