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2 Shot to Death, 1 at Home by Stray Bullet

Violence: Glassell Park woman, 71, dies. Earlier, a man was killed on a street corner, possibly by the same people.

July 31, 2001|DANIEL HERNANDEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A stray bullet killed a 71-year-old woman Sunday night shortly after gunfire, possibly from the same passing car, killed a 39-year-old man, both in Los Angeles.

Ruben Argumedo was killed as he stood at the southeast corner of North Avenue 64 and Garvanza Avenue in Highland Park, police said. It was the same intersection where his 26-year-old brother Alexander was gunned down in November 1990. It wasn't immediately known what became of that investigation.

About half an hour later Sunday, a bullet entered a window and passed through a bathroom wall of Julia Madden's Glassell Park home, striking her in the head.

Both shots were fired from a dark compact car carrying two young males, said Northeast Division police Det. Andrew Teague.

"We don't know that they're related yet, but it's possible," Teague said. Police also don't know whether the killers are gang members.

Madden, a Sunday school teacher, was hit at 10:40 p.m. by one of several bullets apparently intended for a 15-year-old boy, who was wounded in the shooting, police said.

According to witnesses who live near Madden's house on Division Street, a young couple on foot was trying to hide from pursuers in a dark car. The couple entered the Madden yard and hid in the bushes, but the shooters fired at them, neighbors said.

Madden's husband, Dexter, said his wife was getting ready for bed when the bullet hit her in the head and exited through her right eye. He said he found the bullet in her robe.

She died within hours at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center from a single gunshot wound.

The teenage boy who had been shot as he hid was in guarded condition Monday after undergoing surgery, a police spokesman said.

Meanwhile, paramedics had rushed Argumedo to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, the same hospital where his younger brother died, police and family members said. Argumedo died at the hospital of several gunshot wounds.

"This is the second time this has happened to our family. . . ," said Margarita Argumedo, 62, mother of the slain brothers. "I want justice now."

The mother, who lives a few doors from the apartment where Argumedo lived with his wife and daughter, said she found him riddled with bullets and "showered in blood" soon after she heard gunfire. She cradled him as he lay dying, she said.

On Monday, their family, friends and neighbors stood in small groups near that corner. They laid flowers and placed photos of Argumedo on the sidewalk where his body was found.

Several of Madden's neighbors said she had lived with her husband in that house for at least 25 years. Neighbors remembered her as a kind woman who was quiet and cordial.

"She was a very happy, tranquil woman. She loved children very much," said next-door neighbor Susana Alarcon.

A Northeast Division police detective said the entire division's homicide detail returned to the scenes of the shootings late Monday afternoon in an attempt to gather more evidence and interview more witnesses.

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