Boy, 6, shot by suspected gang member

March 4, 2008 9:16:03 PM PST
A 6-year-old boy riding in a car with his family was shot in the head by a suspected gang member Tuesday in a crime that is drawing condemnations from city officials dealing with back-to-back outbreaks of brazen gang violence. The boy was hospitalized in critical condition, said Officer Ana Aguirre, a police spokeswoman.

The attack came during a 13-day span in which police engaged in a gunbattle with a carload of suspected gang members after a man was gunned down as he walked with a child, and eight people were wounded on a street and a high school football star was slain as he walked home in shootings authorities say also involved gang members.

The boy, who is black, was shot in Harbor Gateway, an area with a history of racially motivated attacks involving Latino gangs and black victims. Investigators believe the attack was gang-related but had no evidence it was racially motivated, Aguirre said.

The family of six was in a red sports utility vehicle around 12:30 p.m. when a man walked onto the road, flashed gang signs, and fired several shots at the car as it was moving, Aguirre said.

Police said the family did not live in the area, and were driving around looking for an address. The people in the car included a two other children, a man and two women, one of whom is pregnant.

The gunman was described as a Hispanic in his late 20s, who was accompanied by another Hispanic male on a bicycle, police said.

Gang-related killings in Los Angeles declined sharply last year, down to 216 from 294 in 2006.

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