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2 Arrested in Drive-By Shooting

The suspects are caught after their truck slams into a Macy's. Incident gang-related, police say.

June 23, 2003|Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton | Times Staff Writers

Two teenagers were arrested Sunday after they allegedly used a rented truck to commit a drive-by shooting in Venice and then led police on a chase that ended when their vehicle crashed into the doors of a department store at a mall in Fox Hills.

The two suspects ran from the truck, but were caught a short time later after authorities evacuated a portion of the Macy's department store, Los Angeles Police Lt. Rick Wall said. One suspect was found hiding outside the mall and the other was caught inside Macy's, police said.

Eriberto Gonzalez, 18, was booked on suspicion of attempted murder and held in lieu of $1-million bail, police said. The other suspect is a 16-year-old boy, who was not identified because he is a minor.

No one was hurt inside the store, but the glass doors were cracked, Wall said.

The victim of the shooting, described as in his 20s but not identified, was listed in critical condition at UCLA Medical Center, Wall said.

The man was standing outside his residence near Fourth Street and Rose Avenue in Venice when the rented truck pulled up and someone inside the cabin opened fire, hitting the man twice in the back and once in the leg, Wall said.

The gunmen were believed to be members of a Culver City gang and the shooting victim was associated with a longtime rival Venice gang, law enforcement sources said.

Witnesses told police the vehicle was a U-Haul truck with Arizona license plates, Wall said. An LAPD helicopter quickly spotted the truck as it headed south on Lincoln Boulevard. A patrol car joined the pursuit as the truck entered the San Diego Freeway headed south.

The suspects pulled off the freeway at Howard Hughes Parkway, ran a red light and then barreled into the mall parking lot, smashing into the department store's glass doors, Wall said. Witnesses told police they saw two people scramble from the truck.

The handgun allegedly used in the drive-by shooting was dumped on a Venice street, and recovered, police said.

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Times staff writer Anita M. Busch contributed to this report.

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