Police are investigating whether a double homicide in North Long Beach this week was carried out in retaliation against residents who had thwarted a street robbery a few days earlier.
Two men were shot and killed about 11:15 p.m. Monday as they celebrated a birthday with friends on the porch of a house in the 100 block of East Pleasant Street, police said. Two other men injured in the shooting were expected to recover.
Police did not release the names of the victims.
Investigators had few leads in the case, but robbery did not appear to be a motive, said Long Beach Police Department spokesman Greg Schirmer.
Relatives said that one of the men killed was Carlos Serrano, 22, and that the other man was a 23-year-old former neighbor of his who had recently moved back to the area from Chicago.
Efrain Donis, Serrano's brother-in-law, said family members, including one who was present at the shooting, believed the attack was carried out by the same men Serrano had encountered during a robbery attempt last week.
Donis said Serrano and several friends scared away three men as they tried to snatch some bags from a young couple returning from shopping. Schirmer said police were called to the neighborhood, but no report was taken because officers were unable to locate the couple.
Donis said that Serrano had a 2-year-old daughter and was scheduled to start a job the day after the shooting as a plumber's assistant.
"He was just a good kid," Donis said. "He didn't do any harm to anybody."