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Motive Sought in Execution-Style Slaying of 2 Men : Crime: The victims were in a parked car in Highland Park when attacked. Police say no words were exchanged.

October 05, 1995|GEOFFREY MOHAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Police said Wednesday that they are mystified over the execution-style slaying of two men in a parked car in Highland Park.

About half a dozen young men in gang-style garb opened fire on the pair Tuesday night as they sat in a black 1990 Ford Bronco on Granada Street near Avenue 50, according to Detective Art Placencia of the Los Angeles Police Department's Northeast Division.

A single shot to the head killed the 31-year-old passenger, while the driver, Roman Murcia, 35, was gunned down as he ran from the truck, Placencia said.

The passenger has not been identified, pending notification of his family.

"The driver opened the door and ran toward Avenue 50 and a second gunman ran him down and shot him," said Placencia.

Murcia lived across the street from the site of the shooting.

Detectives doubt that robbery or carjacking were motives because no words were exchanged and the assailants never attempted to force the victims from the vehicle.

"We found no indication of robbery," said Placencia. "That's what we can't figure out here. The way it was done, they obviously didn't even talk to them."

Friends and relatives of Murcia gathered at the site Wednesday, placing flowers and votive candles beside the chalk marks left at the crime scene investigation. Murcia and the other victim were good friends, frequently working out together at a Downtown gym, they said.

"They were always together," said Gloria Montoya, a friend of Murcia. "I guess now they died together."

Murcia's cousin, who did not see the incident, said witnesses told her that two youths were waiting at the corner when a car pulled up and the shooting began. The youths on the corner fled with the youths in the vehicle, which police described only as a mid-sized American sedan.

Family members were unsure whether Murcia had just arrived or was about to leave when the shooting occurred.

Murcia, a Salvadoran who came to the United States almost 20 years ago, had lived in the neighborhood for the past five years, with his cousin and the cousin's wife.

Detectives are asking anyone with information to call them at (213) 847-4261.

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