LOS ANGELES – Two gang shootings led to a police gunbattle Thursday in which officers killed one gunman, wounded another and captured a suspect in a surging gang conflict, authorities said.
A victim in the first gang shooting also died.
Two schools were locked down for hours and residents of the densely populated Glassell Park area were ordered to stay inside as heavily armed officers swarmed the neighborhood during the search.
The police gunbattle followed two gang shootings around midday – the first in which a man carrying a toddler was shot multiple times and a car-to-car shooting soon afterward, authorities said.
The first shooting victim died a few hours later, Officer Jason Lee said. The child he was carrying suffered bruises from being dropped but was not hit by gunfire. Police didn’t say whether anyone was wounded in the second shooting.
Police Chief William Bratton said plainclothes officers went to a known location for the Avenues gang and found four suspects in both shootings.
Three suspects got out of the car and opened fire with three weapons, said Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz.
The officers fired back, killing one person armed with an AK-47 and wounding another, Bratton said.
“Fortunately our officers were the ones left standing after that shootout,” said Bratton, whose SWAT team lost a veteran officer to a deranged gunman’s bullet earlier this month.
The car’s driver sped off and another suspect fled into the neighborhood.
Officers searched the area and captured a man believed to be the latter suspect as he fled from a house.
A KABC-TV news helicopter captured the scene as the man lay face down in an alley, put his hands behind his back and was immediately set upon by a police dog that violently pulled on one of his arms.
The two officers involved in the earlier gunbattle identified the man as being involved in that shooting, Diaz said.
The suspect, whose name was not released, was arrested for investigation of murder and shooting at police officers, Lee said.
Police said the violence involved the Avenues and Cypress gangs.
“For approximately the last month, two of the gangs in this area of the city … gangs that have been here for generations, have been going at each other,” Bratton said.
Los Angeles has had a significant reduction in gang violence in the last few years but the northeast area is among “hot spots” that emerge from time to time, Diaz said.