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Police seek leads in northeast L.A. attacks

July 25, 2007|Ari B. Bloomekatz | Times Staff Writer

Officials said Tuesday that they had few leads in a rash of assaults targeting Latinos in northeast Los Angeles.

The four separate attacks targeted men between the ages of 40 and 50. In each assault, the victim was struck once from behind with a large, blunt object such as a tree branch or a baseball bat, authorities said.

The attacks occurred in the Silver Lake and Echo Park areas; three on July 15 and one Sunday. Officials said each victim had been walking alone and that there were no witnesses.

City Council President Eric Garcetti said three of the attacks had occurred just blocks from his home in Echo Park and have created a "climate of fear" in the neighborhood.

None of the men sustained life-threatening injuries but each suffered serious head trauma, Los Angeles Police Det. Craig Marquez said.

Police said the only connections between the victims were their ages and race. Marquez said information about possible suspects has been hard to come by because none of the victims saw their assailant or assailants. The victims either were knocked unconscious or were extremely disoriented by the blow to their head, he said.

Details from individuals who came upon the victims and called emergency services also have been difficult to collect because those persons did not leave their proper names or contact information, the detective said.

Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz said city officials needed the public's help because the crimes were unusual and did not match typical motives.

Authorities said none of the victims had been robbed and were not further assaulted after the first blow.

Marquez said authorities believed the attacks had been coordinated to ensure there would be no witnesses and that the victims would not see their attackers approaching.

Anyone with information about the assaults is asked to either call the LAPD's Northeast Division at (213) 485-2566 or the department's 24-hour hotline at (877) 529-3855.

ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

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