Two men have been arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting a man at a Watts housing complex as part of a gang feud that has left four men dead since Sunday, the mayor said Friday.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton said that in the wake of the bloodshed, the city has tripled patrols in the Watts area, sent out dozens of gang intervention workers and held several community meetings to end the fighting between the Grape Street Crips and East Coast Crips.
"We will not tolerate that kind of violence in our city, but especially not in Watts, where we have made so much progress in the last two years due to hard work of the Watts gang task force," the mayor said, noting that the area's homicide numbers had been cut by half last year.
The violence, which also left 13 wounded, began early Sunday when Brandon Bullard, 25, whom police identified as a key member of the Grape Street Crips, was killed at a South Los Angeles party also attended by East Coast Crips, Deputy Chief Charlie Beck said. Bullard's family said he was not a gang leader.
Later that afternoon, Maurio Proctor was shot as he stood outside the Jordan Downs housing project with a friend. Police believe the shooting of Proctor, the son of a gang intervention worker, was retaliatory.
LAPD security cameras captured the gunmen's Chevrolet Impala, leading to the arrests of Daniel Colvin, 19, and Cedrick Johnson, 18, authorities said. Det. Sal LaBarbera said the two are connected with the East Coast Crips.
Ten incidents have been linked to the feud, including two other fatalities. Van Knott, 19, a bystander, was gunned down Monday morning, and Chontel Johnson, 35, was fatally wounded hours later inside a clothing store, police said.
Villaraigosa said attendance at some Watts schools was down to 50% because of what he called the "chilling effect" of the killings. However, school officials said that although parents expressed concerns, authorities saw no marked decline in attendance.
Bratton said the LAPD has patrol cars stationed 24 hours a day at various housing projects and has secured routes to local schools, in part with the help of county, city and federal law enforcement agencies. "We will focus the efforts of not just the Los Angeles Police Department, but the total law enforcement community here in Los Angeles County," the chief said.
Beck said the force would police the funerals of those killed in the spasm of violence.
"The funerals as a result of these homicides will require additional resources," he said, and "when those resources that we have in Watts are removed, we will be faced with the threat of additional violence."