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Gunmen Kill Teenager Parked at Gas Station in Hawthorne

December 22, 1996

Two armed men believed to be gang members walked up to a car parked at a Hawthorne gas station and opened fire on a member of a rival gang early Saturday, fatally wounding him, sheriff's investigators said.

Deputies said the victim, Jaime Celaya, 19, of Inglewood was sitting in the passenger's side of a car parked at the gas station at El Segundo Boulevard and Inglewood Avenue when the shooting began about 3:30 a.m.

The driver was not injured.

"The car the victim was in was stopped at a gas pump when a carload of rival gang members drove into the gas station," said Deputy Elsa Avila.

Two of the rival gang members, both armed with handguns, walked up to both sides of the car and opened fire, Avila said.

Celaya was struck several times in the upper body. He died at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance.

A statement by the Sheriff's Department said the assailants fled in an American-made four-door mid-size car that is either white or light blue.

Hawthorne police were participating with sheriff's detectives in the investigation.

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