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2 Men Slain at Venice Beach

August 16, 2004|Lisa Richardson and Andrew Blankstein | Times Staff Writers

Two men were killed in a drive-by shooting Sunday afternoon in the heart of Venice Beach as thousands of beachgoers soaked in the sun and surf, police said.

In a second weekend of summer violence, officers reported that at least six people were killed in less than 24 hours in Los Angeles. A week ago, 17 people died in shootings and assaults in Los Angeles County during an exceptionally violent weekend that marked the start of the area's traditional peak period for homicides. August is typically the worst month for killings in the county.

The shooting sent shudders through the neighborhood of small bungalows, luxury homes, apartment buildings and businesses catering to beachgoers.

Resident Mark Ryavek, former executive director of the Venice Boardwalk Assn., said he fears the shooting may signal a return to a more frightening era of gang violence.

"In that context, this incident is alarming and exceptionally dangerous," he said. "It is a block off of the heart of Venice," where tens of thousands of people visit on peak weekends.

The fatal attack occurred in the 1700 block of Pacific Avenue when two men driving a burgundy Mercedes-Benz pulled up alongside a blue Chevrolet Camaro. They reportedly shot at the car's three occupants, killing two and seriously injuring a third man, who went to a local hospital.

Police found no weapons in the victims' car but they did find paint that may have been intended for tagging or graffiti, said police Sgt. Ron Crump.

Police later stopped the Mercedes on La Tijera Boulevard near the San Diego Freeway and arrested two suspects, who were booked on suspicion of murder.

Two hours later, a man was shot in a parking lot in the 11700 block of Culver Boulevard, Crump said. A suspect is still at large in that shooting, and police are investigating whether the two attacks are related, said Det. Don Cox.

Three other victims were shot in South Los Angeles and in the San Fernando Valley, police said.

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