Nearly 400 police officers raided 24 homes in five cities early Wednesday, arresting six people believed to be associates of gang members suspected in the shooting death of Long Beach Officer Daryle Black, a police spokesman said.
Authorities also believe that some of those arrested may have been involved in a recent spate of homicides in Long Beach, where 10 slayings occurred last month, said Officer David Marander, a spokesman for the city's Police Department, the lead agency in the sweep.
Officers from four law enforcement agencies began serving search warrants at 5 a.m. in Long Beach, Compton, Lynwood, Los Angeles and South Gate, Marander said.
Three adults and three juveniles were arrested on suspicion of drug, traffic and other violations. They could face additional charges if further investigation turns up more evidence, Marander said.
He said the sweep "definitely sent a message" that authorities would not tolerate gang violence. Police recovered one handgun and other evidence linking the suspects to gangs, Marander said.
Officers knew they would not make arrests at each of the 24 locations, he said, but were sent to places the suspects were known to frequent.
Hector Hermosillo, 25, was arrested in Compton on suspicion of misdemeanor drug violations and on an outstanding traffic warrant, police said.
In Long Beach, police arrested Albert Navaro, 29, on suspicion of felony drug violations and Richard Navaro, 19, on a traffic warrant.
Two boys, 14 and 17, were arrested in Long Beach for probation violations, and a 16-year-old girl was arrested in Lynwood on suspicion of possessing ammunition, police said.
The wave of violence in Long Beach hit home for officers April 29 when Black was killed. His partner, Rick Delfin, and an innocent bystander were wounded in the assault.
"I'm sure the shooting of Rick Delfin and the murder of Daryle Black was on the minds of every officer as they conducted the service of their search warrants this morning," Marander said. "I believe there was a sense that we were uniting and we were doing it for them."
Long Beach officers "are still healing" from the first shooting death of a department member in 25 years, but Wednesday's raid was not undertaken in retaliation, police said.
"We're a professional organization," Marander said. "We don't retaliate like street gangs."
Suspects already in custody in connection with Black's death cooperated with authorities in identifying the suspects targeted in Wednesday's raid, Marander said.
Black and his partner drove into the middle of a gang confrontation just before it erupted into a full-fledged fight, Marander said, adding that most of the gang members present that night were armed.
The two officers recognized one gang member, Miguel Camacho, and approached him in their car, Marander said.
Camacho's friends knew he was armed and on parole and would face arrest as a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. They then opened fire on the officers' unmarked patrol car with a high-powered assault rifle, Marander said.
Black was hit in the head and killed. Bullet fragments struck Delfin in the head, and a bullet hit him in the knee, Marander said. Delfin faces at least a year of physical therapy and might not return to the department, Marander said.
Maria Cervantes, who was seven months pregnant and sitting in a nearby apartment, was wounded in the attack.
Days after Black's death, police arrested Ramon Sandoval Jr., 18, and Adolfo Ramon Bojorquez, 21, on suspicion of murder. They are being held without bail in Men's Central Jail.
Camacho, the man Black and Delfin approached before they were shot, was arrested April 29 on parole violations and weapons charges, Marander said.
Cmdr. Tim Jackman said Long Beach police worked extensively with Deputy Dist. Atty. Larry Morrison to prepare for the sweeps.
"Before we can do anything, a judge has to sign a search warrant," Jackman said.
The increase in gang violence in Long Beach mirrors a recent spurt in Los Angeles. Police are at a loss to explain the upsurges, especially because violent crime and gang activity had decreased steadily for nine years. The 10 Long Beach slayings in May were an increase from six in the same period last year.
Jackman speculated that violence is increasing because gang activity is becoming more regional. That's why the raid Wednesday covered such a large geographical area, he said.
Marander sees a domino effect: "I believe when one gang commits a violent crime against another gang, they try to retaliate."
Long Beach City Councilman Ray Grabinski said gang sweeps are one way of stopping violent activity, but he added that caution must be used so innocent people are not wrongfully targeted.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California also cautioned that the rights of the innocent must be protected in gang sweeps. Elizabeth Schroeder, the organization's associate director, said warrants used to conduct gang raids such as Wednesday's are only as good as the information police provide to a judge to obtain them.
"We have seen tremendous abuses of people's constitutional rights by the LAPD in its gang policing efforts, where officers have lied to suppress gang activity," she said. "We do not know if such violations have occurred in this case, but these questions must be asked, and careful scrutiny must be placed on how the warrant was obtained."
Times staff writers Edward J. Boyer and Manuel Gamiz Jr. contributed to this story.