The Sunday morning discovery of a man's body in a gutter has shocked many residents on Belle Porte Avenue in Harbor City at a time when some say they have been feeling a new sense of security in their neighborhood.
Police had no suspects or motive in the death of a 27-year-old man who, coroner's officials said, died of "blunt trauma to the head." The victim's name was not released because his relatives have not been notified, police said.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday November 9, 1989 Home Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Column 1 Metro Desk 1 inches; 26 words Type of Material: Correction
Victim's identity--A story in Monday's editions incorrectly identified the victim of a Lincoln Heights shooting death. The man's correct name is Joseph S. Lopez, 24, of San Gabriel.
On Sunday afternoon, a handful of residents stood on the sidewalk at Belle Porte and 251st Street, talking of the slaying and staring at the droplets of blood in the gutter and a single black thong, a rubber sandal that they believe had been worn by the dead man.
"How can someone kill another like that?" asked Olivia Lugo, 19, whose apartment faces the scene. "The body was right next to my dad's car. It's frightening for everyone."
Area residents have long complained about day laborers, sometimes as many as 150, who sought work near the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Belle Porte, loitering on their front lawns and porches, sometimes harassing passers-by.
But a week ago nearly all of the men left the area when Los Angeles city officials opened a hiring hall--the first of its kind in the city--at a nearby park,
"Just when we are starting to feel a little better, now we have this," said Debbie Shipman, 31. "It's getting harder and harder to make our house quiet and safe."
Police said they had little information on the 2:30 a.m. killing and would not say if the man was a neighborhood resident, had a gang affiliation, or had been known to seek day labor in the area.
Earlier Sunday, Miguel Sanchez, 19, of Cerritos was beaten to death by five baseball bat-wielding youths, one of whom was arrested Sunday afternoon, a Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman said.
At 1:20 a.m., Sanchez stopped his car at Vickie Avenue and Artesia Boulevard in Cerritos and was confronted by the youths who shouted gang slogans and challenged him to a fight. When Sanchez left his car, he was severely beaten on the head, said Deputy Bill Wehner. He died Sunday afternoon at Pioneer Hospital in Artesia.
Deputies arrested one suspect, Joffrey Deleon Lagadia, 18, at his home in Yorba Linda, in Orange County, late Sunday afternoon on suspicion of murder. He was being held without bail at the Lakewood Sheriff's Station, Wehner said.
Detectives were seeking more suspects.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles police were investigating two gang-related drive-by shootings that left two men dead in the city's Vermont and Lincoln Heights districts. In both cases gang slogans were exchanged and then gunshots rang out from passing cars, killing bystanders.
Rick Hutchins, 27, died in front of a house in the 1200 block of 102nd Street shortly after midnight, police said.
In Lincoln Heights, a San Gabriel man was killed and a woman companion was wounded in a shooting at 11:40 p.m. Saturday, police said.
Ralph Lopez, 24, was standing in a parking lot on the 2900 block of North Broadway when he was shot. The woman, who was not identified, was in stable condition at Huntington Memorial Hospital, police said.