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Man, 31, Seriously Wounded in 'Day of the Dead' Shooting

November 05, 1986|PATT MORRISON | Times Staff Writer

It was the weekend after Halloween, the weekend of the holiday honored in Mexico as "The Day of the Dead." And down on O Street in Wilmington, 31-year-old Luis Candenas was getting ready to drive some family members to Green Hills Cemetery in San Pedro to visit a relative's grave.

But Los Angeles police say that as Candenas started to drive off, his path was blocked by two cars, sitting nose-to-tail alongside each other--evidently another drug deal going down in a notorious cocaine-trafficking area.

Candenas waited, police say. Then, frustrated, he got out of his car and walked up to the drivers.

"There were words exchanged," said Police Detective Larry Kallestad. "I think Mr. Candenas may have been upset--'here they are drug-dealing and I can't even get by.' " At last, one car moved, and Candenas drove off.

About an hour and a half later, he was back from the cemetery, and as he stood in front of his house, a youth walked up--a passenger in one of the two cars that had blocked Cardenas' way. A few more remarks may have been exchanged, investigators believe.

And then, across a three-foot-high fence, the teen-ager pulled a small-caliber handgun and fired, striking Candenas six times, a few grazing shots but once in the chest and again in the head. He was in serious condition Tuesday at St. Mary's Medical Center.

From inside the house on O Street, someone began to shoot back--10 or 15 rounds, said Detective Kim Wierman--"but it was probably too late." Candenas lay wounded, and the 15-year-old suspect had run off down the street.

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