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Man Killed in Ambush Near Home

Crime: A 19-year-old in Winnetka is shot in an incident that is believed to be gang-related.

July 27, 2002|MANUEL GAMIZ JR. | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 19-year-old man was shot and killed early Friday morning outside his family's Winnetka house as he returned from a nearby cyber cafe, police said.

Steve Nguyen, was ambushed just after midnight as he walked up the driveway of a home on the 19700 block of Lull Street that he shared with his parents, his 2-year-old son and the boy's mother, police said.

A gunman driving a red or maroon Toyota minivan fired at least six shots at Nguyen, striking him several times in the upper torso, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Alex Baez said.

Nguyen, who was pronounced dead at the scene, may have been followed home from Netstreet Internet Cafe in the 9200 block of Reseda Boulevard in Northridge, investigators said.

"It appears to be gang-related," said Det. Terry Carlos of the Asian Crimes Investigation Section, which is handling the case.

Police retrieved a surveillance tape and other items from the cafe, where Nguyen was playing video games with friends until about 11 p.m. Thursday, said the owner, Charles Lee.

Nguyen has been a customer at the cafe since it opened six months ago, going there about four times a week to play such strategy video games as Diablo and War Craft, Lee said.

Friends said Nguyen recently left his job at an electronics store and was taking classes at an adult school.

On Friday afternoon, about a dozen friends gathered near the doorway where, hours earlier, Nguyen had been killed. They placed flowers and candles near the front door and garage, which were marred by bullet holes.

"It's tragic," said one of them, John Dinh, 22. "All we ever wanted to do was have fun."

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