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Police Search for Mystery Victim

Authorities in Long Beach seek the person hurt in a shooting near a high school graduation.

June 17, 2005|Wendy Thermos | Times Staff Writer

Long Beach police continued to search late Thursday for a mystery victim who was shot outside a high school graduation and left behind a trail of blood.

"He could be badly hurt," Officer Jackie Bezart said. "We would like to find him."

About 1,000 Long Beach Polytechnic High School graduates, their families and friends were inside Veterans Memorial Stadium on Wednesday evening when a disturbance broke out in the parking lot. Three to five shots were fired, but officials said apparently no one in the stadium heard them.

People in the parking lot told police a wounded person, described only as male, was helped into a vehicle that sped away.

Investigators said they were perplexed that the victim had not come forward.

"There's obviously more to this story than we're aware of," Bezart said. "We consider this to be serious because it was a graduation, it was a large crowd, and because of what could have happened."

Officers said they found a trail of blood on the asphalt and a pool of blood about a yard wide. Two handguns were recovered at the scene. Law enforcement and school officials did not believe any graduation participants were involved.

Police sought the public's help in finding the wounded person.

"We've notified all the local hospitals and as yet we have nothing," Bezart said. "If family or friends know this person, we are asking them to come forward." It was not known whether the victim participated in the shooting, she said.

Police did not know what caused the altercation or whether it might be gang-related.

They had no suspects.

The violence occurred just before the end of the ceremony. As people left the stadium near the corner of East Carson Street and Clark Avenue, authorities directed them to exits away from the crime scene on the south end of the lot.

"It was fairly orderly, considering the number of people," Bezart said. "People inside didn't really know what had happened."

Thursday, the final day of classes for the high school's students who weren't seniors, was a scheduled short session. "It was a quiet day," said Chris Eftychiou, Long Beach Unified School District spokesman.

Police ask that anyone with information call (562) 435-6711.

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