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Post  rocstar on Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:25 am

Officers sweep area in response to violence
By Kenneth Todd Ruiz and Molly R. Okeon, Staff Writers
Article Launched: 01/29/2008 11:02:04 PM PST
Monrovia shootings

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MONROVIA - Police struck back hard Tuesday against deadly black and Latino gang warfare in

Investigators serve a search warrant at a home in the at 1200 block of Sherman Avenue in Monrovia on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2008. Officials searched the home for evidence related to recent gang violence in Monrovia. (Watchara Phomicinda/Staff Photographer) Monrovia, arresting a murder suspect, raiding a home and searching for clues at the scene where two girls were gunned down by gang members Saturday.
Foothills Special Enforcement Team officers, armed with assault rifles and backed by sheriff's deputies and Monrovia and Duarte police officers late Tuesday surrounded a home at 1234 Sherman Avenue in Monrovia, ordering residents on the street to stay indoors as they served a search warrant.

Several occupants of the home were being detained late Tuesday, but police had made no arrests as of 8:30 p.m., officials said.

The house was where 64-year-old Sanders "Pete" Rollins - who police say had no gang ties - was shot to death Jan. 13 as he walked to his front door, part
of what authorities say has been a back-and-forth cycle of retaliation between Latino and black gang members that has left at least two dead and two seriously wounded over the past three weeks. Officials were searching for evidence linked to a Jan. 14 drive-by shooting in the 200 block of West Cypress Avenue.
Earlier Tuesday, sheriff's officials arrested 19-year-old Jimmy Santana of Duarte as the suspect in the shooting a 16-year-old boy Jan. 12 in the 2500 block of Peck Road in unincorporated Monrovia. The boy's kidney and spleen were destroyed by bullets, leaving him paralyzed, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Detective Scott Schulze said.

That shooting occurred near an apartment building where two black males, believed by police to be gang members, shot two 16-year-old Latina girls about 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the 2500 block of Peck Road, killing Sammantha Alexis Salas.

Tuesday morning, three special enforcement teams and several deputies swept through the unincorporated neighborhood. Authorities blocked off the area in front of the apartment building as a contingent of 10 investigators searched the scene for evidence.

Some investigators crouched on their hands and knees, while others combed the lawn, sidewalk and street with metal detectors used a ladder mark where bullets entered the building. Officials found a slug across the street.

Gang violence has been mostly concentrated in an unincorporated area between Arcadia, Duarte and Monrovia known as "No Man's Land." But in recent weeks, increasing racial enmity between black and Latino gang members has pushed the mayhem to a new, senseless level, authorities said.

"It has completely degraded into a race war," said Sgt. Richard Westin of the sheriff's Operation Safe Streets gang unit. "It's not just about being a gang member anymore."

Commenting on the situation Tuesday, Sheriff Lee Baca said he ordered beefed up patrols in the area and his department was working closely with local city officials to end the shootings.

"When you examine the 16-year-old boy who was shot and the two Hispanic girls, it's clear that the insanity has reached a level that is hard to comprehend," he said. "It's reached this level of wanton behavior where anyone is subject to being a victim."

Neither Salas nor the wounded girl were involved in gangs, Baca said. Westin said the shooting was not motivated by drugs or territory, just malice.

"They wanted to shoot her so bad, they walked up to her and shot her several times," he said.

In a disturbing new trend, Westin said Latino children have told investigators they are being forced to "dress like gang members just to appear there are more Latino gang members than there are blacks."

The Duroc Crips have called No Man's Land home for three decades. Since the 1980s, they have battled Latino gang members, but sheriff's investigators believe the latest flare up has pitted the black gang against the Monrovia Nuevo Barrio and Duarte Eastside gangs.

"Before it may have been racially motivated, but at least they were shooting other gang members," Westin said. "That may sound callous, but if they're gang members, then they know what they're in for."

So far both sides have taken a near-equal toll, he added.

"If you took the number of blacks who've been shot, and the number of Hispanics who've been shot, it's almost dead even," he said.

But the violence has left residents on edge.

Flaro Solis, 75, was reading her Bible on Saturday night when a bullet crashed through her bedroom window, her daughter, Rachel Tapia, 38, said.

"She's so scared, she's sleeping on the kitchen floor. She doesn't want to go into her room," she said.

Mother and daughter live in the apartment building where Salas and her friend were shot.

She expressed the fear that many residents of the area have echoed, saying she and her family are planning to move. Neighbor Irene Wilson said she peered out of her window before going to sleep Saturday night and saw a dark-colored sport utility vehicle in front of her Graydon Avenue home.

"That's when I heard the pop-pop," she said.

Returning to her window, Wilson saw two men walk around the corner and then sprint to the vehicle before speeding off.

Bonnie Loveland has called her corner in the Mayflower Village neighborhood home for 59 years, but she's never seen the violence as intense as in recent weeks.

Wilson, Loveland and other neighbors said said they witnessed what they believed were drug sales at the apartment building.

Monrovia Mayor Rob Hammond said the police force in the city has been beefed up in response to the incident.

"We're doing the very best we can to help answer the questions that the community has and to assure them that there is plenty of manpower, there is plenty of money and there are plenty of resources to deal with this," he said.

Staff Writer Brian Day contributed to this story.


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Post  {~Vicente~} on Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:00 am

I lived like 5 minutes away from Monrovia (I lived in Arcadia for 6 Months) it was crazy Blacks and Latinos hittin' each other up based on the color of your skin

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Registration date : 2008-06-28
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Location : East soon 2b North Riverside, California

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