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2 killed in separate Valley shootings

April 16, 2007|From a Times Staff Writer

Two young men were killed Sunday afternoon in separate gang-related shootings in the east San Fernando Valley, authorities said.

Los Angeles police, following a high-speed car chase that lasted 45 minutes and ended in a crash, arrested three suspects in connection with one of the slayings. Police spokesman Mike Lopez said detectives were looking into whether the same men were involved in both killings.

The first shooting occurred at 5 p.m., when several young men in a silver sport utility vehicle pulled up alongside a car at Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Branford Street. At least one shot was fired, striking a passenger in the car in the head, police said.

The car's driver took the victim, described only as a Latino in his early 20s, to a nearby hospital, but he died while still in the parking lot, Lopez said.

Twenty-five minutes later, and less than five miles away, an 18-year-old Latino man was shot at the state Department of Motor Vehicles' parking lot in the 14900 block of Vanowen Street, police said.

The gun was believed to have been fired by someone in a green Honda, Lopez said. The victim was taken by paramedics to a nearby hospital, where he died two hours later.

Police later spotted a car fitting the description of the Honda and, following a chase through the Van Nuys, North Hollywood and Arleta areas, the car crashed into another vehicle about 7:20 p.m. near Arleta Avenue and Terra Bella Street.

Two young men in the car were arrested, as was another who had fled, Lopez said. He said officers found a loaded handgun in the car.

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