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Other riot-related unsolved cases

Twenty-three homicides related to the 1992 riots remain unsolved

May 03, 2012

Here are some of the other 23 victims of unsolved homicides related to the L.A. riots. Click for an interactive map of the riots deaths to learn more about all of the incidents:

Howard Epstein, 45, was shot and killed April 30, 1992, near Slauson and 7th avenues in Hyde Park. Epstein, who had flown from his Northern California home to check on his South Los Angeles metal manufacturing business, was struck in the head by a bullet apparently fired from a pickup truck that had pulled alongside his car. His car careened into a liquor store parking lot, where a crowd quickly gathered. Onlookers broke into applause when someone yelled that the dead driver was white, witnesses said, and Epstein's cellphone, camera, briefcase and pistol were stolen. Hostility was so intense after the shooting of Epstein that detectives towed away his Thunderbird while his body was still behind the wheel — an unusual move.

Eduardo C. Vela, 33, was shot and killed April 29, 1992, in the 5100 block of Slauson Avenue in Ladera Heights. A Mexican immigrant who ran a Japanese restaurant in Bakersfield, Vela was visiting Los Angeles on the day the riots broke out. He was killed as he waited behind the steering wheel of his disabled car while a co-worker, Estevan Ortigoza, went to make a telephone call. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Dave Coleman said the only real evidence detectives had was the bullet found in his body.

Thanh Lam, 25, was shot and killed April 30, 1992, in Compton. Lam was leaving his family's market, which had been looted and burned the night before. The traffic signal at Willowbrook Avenue and Alondra Boulevard had turned yellow, and Lam slowed to a stop. A car bumped him from the rear and pulled up in the next lane. At least two gunmen leaned out with handguns and began firing. One bullet shattered the truck's window; a volley of shots ripped into the cab. Four bullets hit Lam, and within minutes he was dead. Family members later complained that the Compton Police Department did a poor job investigating the case.

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