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Bullets Fired at Brother of Officer Killed in Shooting : Crime: The gunfire erupted shortly before the beginning of the accused slayer's trial. No one was injured in the incident.

September 20, 1990|GEORGE RAMOS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Just hours before trial began for the accused killer of Los Angeles Police Officer Daniel Pratt, the slain officer's brother, who is also an LAPD officer, was shot at on the Long Beach Freeway while on his way home early Wednesday, authorities said.

Investigators discounted the possibility that the freeway shooting was connected to the brother's death, however. "They're in no way connected," said Lt. Ken Lady, an LAPD investigator. "I think it was just a random shooting and they (the attackers) didn't know he was a policeman."

Officer Brian Pratt, 27, was not injured in the 3:15 a.m. incident in the City of Commerce during which he exchanged several shots with passengers in a 1975 Ford LTD that menacingly followed him for several miles on the freeway, Lady said.

It was while being questioned about the freeway shooting that Brian Pratt remembered that a trial was scheduled to begin later that morning in Los Angeles Superior Court for Kirkton Phenor Moore, 29, who is accused of killing Officer Daniel Pratt, 30, in the wake of a gang drive-by shooting two years ago in the Hyde Park section of Southwest Los Angeles.

"Suddenly, it just dawned on him," Lady said.

One co-worker at the LAPD's Southeast Division, where Brian Pratt is a uniformed patrol officer, agreed that the two incidents were not related, but he added: "It does make you stop and think, doesn't it?"

Brian Pratt, who joined the force after his brother's death, was unavailable for comment late Wednesday.

Moore and girlfriend Raylene Brooks, 19, were arrested about two months after Daniel Pratt was killed. Police Chief Daryl F. Gates said the slain officer was the first Los Angeles policeman to die as a result of a gang-related drive-by shooting.

The officer was working undercover on the night of Sept. 4, 1988, when he and his partner, Veronica DeLao, heard gunfire and chased a car they saw leaving the scene of a drive-by shooting.

Investigators said the car turned and bore down on Pratt and DeLao in a service station at the corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and Florence Avenue. During an exchange of gunfire, Pratt was shot in the face. DeLao was uninjured.

Nearly two months after Daniel Pratt's death, Fox Television Network's "America's Most Wanted" did a segment on the shooting and the hunt for Moore and Brooks.

Moore, who had fled to Las Vegas with Brooks, saw the segment and agreed to give himself up to KTLA newsman Warren Wilson. Wilson and a Channel 5 cameraman met the pair in Las Vegas and drove them to the station's Hollywood studios, where they surrendered to police.

In the trial that began about six hours after the freeway incident, Deputy Dist. Atty. William Gravlin told a Los Angeles Superior Court jury that there was sufficient evidence to link Moore to the killing of Pratt, a six-year LAPD veteran.

He said in opening statements that Moore's fingerprints were found on the murder weapon and that DeLao identified Moore as the man who killed the officer.

Moore, who has maintained his innocence, sat quietly throughout the trial's opening statements and initial witnesses.

Bernard Rosen, one of Moore's defense attorneys, declined to discuss outside court why he believes that his client is innocent.

"It's going to come out piece by piece," he said.

Gravlin said he would seek the death penalty if Moore is convicted of first-degree murder.

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