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Errant Bullet Kills Mother of Three in Front of Family

Los Angeles

Police seek the public's help in finding the person who fired the shot. Five others die in separate homicides over violent weekend in L.A.

November 04, 2003|Jill Leovy | Times Staff Writer

A 35-year-old mother struck by a stray bullet in front of her husband and three children was among six homicide victims in Los Angeles over the weekend, authorities said Monday.

Police sought help in finding the person who fired a shot that hit Monica Agustin Noriega about 6:50 p.m. Sunday, just after she had left the home of a friend near the intersection of 223rd Street and Harvard Boulevard.

As the family's car was pulling away from the home, Noriega realized she had left her 2-year-old's pacifier behind, and asked her husband to stop the car, police said. She stepped out, and the stray bullet struck her in the abdomen.

The shot was one of about four fired in a shooting about 2 1/2 blocks away, at the south side of Plaza Del Amo at Harvard Boulevard, said Det. John Goodman.

"It's incredible. I don't have the words to describe it," Noriega's husband, Francisco Vasquez, told reporters at a news conference Monday. "It's very painful. Very painful. The only thing I can think about is God."

The family came from Guadalajara, Mexico, and "we are like all Latino families," he said. "We just wanted to work, have a house, survive."

"At this point we have little to go on," Goodman said. Anyone with information about the Noriega killing should call (310) 548-2835, or after hours at (877) 529-3855.

Other weekend homicides:

* Police arrested a Woodland Hills man Saturday on suspicion of killing his business partner.

The co-owners of a small Agoura Hills environmental products firm had been arguing throughout the day but things turned deadly when one of the men confronted the other at an apartment in the 6100 block of Coral Pink Circle, police said.

David Matthew Leif, 27, allegedly pulled out a 12-gauge shotgun and fired three times, hitting the 39-year-old victim in the chest, said LAPD Det. Rick Swanston. The victim was not identified.

Leif, who told detectives he fired in self-defense, was being held at the Van Nuys jail in lieu of $1 million bond. He is scheduled to be arraigned today.

* Anthony Brown, 16, a Crenshaw High School student, was killed Saturday afternoon when a gunman walked up to a group of teenagers near the intersection of 8th Avenue and Vernon Avenue in Southwest Los Angeles. The man, who was in his early twenties, hurled a gang insult at the group and started shooting at very close range, detectives said.

Brown's mother, Monica Obannon, said Anthony, a tall, skinny boy who loved basketball, was so worried about gang violence that he rarely left the house after school.

"He would tell everyone else not to fight and gang bang," she said. "He would say, 'We have blacks killing blacks, and it's not good.' "

"I did everything I could to raise my son right," she said. "I don't know what I did wrong."

Police asked anyone with information on the shooting to contact them at (213) 485-3892.

* On Sunday, Gabriel Sanchez, 20, was shot just after noon at the intersection of 107th and Hickory Street in Watts as he was walking to his home.

* On Sunday afternoon, Antonio Robles was shot after a quarrel at a birthday party near 71st Street and Raymond Avenue in South Los Angeles.

* Police arrived at the scene of a traffic collision near the intersection of Glenoaks Boulevard and Osborne Street in Pacoima on Sunday and found a male victim behind the wheel of a car with a gunshot wound in his chest. Authorities did not release his identity.

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