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Easter Shooting Victim Says Suspect Was Armed

November 17, 1993|THOM MROZEK | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

VAN NUYS — A man paralyzed below the waist after being shot in the back during an Easter Sunday picnic testified Tuesday that he saw Larry Dean Shaw armed with two semiautomatic weapons seconds before he was hit.

But like other witnesses at the shooting spree that included at least four gunmen, James Wright was unable to say if Shaw took up a position behind a car and fired the shots that have left him in a wheelchair.

Shaw, 32, is on trial in Van Nuys Superior Court, facing murder charges for allegedly killing a 2-year-old boy who was shot as his frantic mother attempted to pull him from the car.

Shaw is accused of killing Ryan Brown as he fired 9 millimeter pistols with both hands. Prosecutors say his intended targets, Wright and Damon Napier, were standing in front of a gray Oldsmobile Cutlass.

Testifying in Van Nuys Superior Court, Wright, 30, told a jury of 11 women and one man that he was shot three or four seconds after turning his back to Shaw, who had just walked by with guns in each hand.

"I don't know who shot me," Wright said under questioning from defense attorney Douglas E. McCann.

The defense acknowledges that Shaw was armed and did fire shots in the wake of a fight that got out of hand during a picnic and Easter egg hunt at Balboa Park in Encino. But McCann hopes to convince the jury that another gunman fired the bullet that killed Ryan.

There were at least five different guns fired during the melee, authorities said. Witnesses have identified Shaw as the man who was carrying two weapons. Police linked two 9 millimeter handguns to Shaw when the guns were recovered after a brief pursuit after the shooting.

Brown's mother, Tamara Lee, testified Monday that she had placed her son in the car because she wanted to flee the violence that marred the event.

Physical evidence does not conclusively link Shaw to the Brown slaying because the fatal shot passed through the boy's head and the slug was never recovered.

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