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Couple Sitting in Parked Car Are Shot to Death

Police say gunfire came from within the vehicle. No weapon is found, and motive is unknown.

January 24, 2003|Richard Winton and Li Fellers | Times Staff Writers

A couple described as romantically involved were shot to death while sitting in a parked car in South Los Angeles by someone inside the vehicle, Los Angeles police said Thursday.

Police found Erick Dawson Flores Amaya and Ileana Lara, both 22, dead in the front seats of the car in the 800 block of East 54th Street about 7 p.m. Wednesday, after residents reported hearing gunshots, authorities said.

"The gunshots were fired inside the car," said LAPD Officer Jack Richter. "It is always sad when two 22-year-olds are tragically shot." He said that no weapon was recovered and that the motive is unknown.

A makeshift shrine with candles and flowers Thursday marked the spot next to where the pair were killed.

Neighbors, who asked not to be named, said they heard three or four popping sounds about 6:50 p.m. They told police they found the car, its emergency lights flashing, parked in a bus stop red zone with the rear driver-side door and front passenger door open. One witness reported possibly two people in hooded sweatshirts running from the scene.

Det. Greg McKnight said that investigators are seeking a motive but that so far the evidence does not suggest the slayings were gang-related.

Police said Lara was found in the passenger seat, her boyfriend slumped behind the steering wheel.

They both were from the Pico-Union area, the county coroner's office said.

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