Miguel Guzman, 16
Died Sept. 3, 2008 at 4:56 p.m.
Miguel Angel Guzman, a 16-year-old Latino youth, was killed in a gang shooting at 5th and Bonnie Brae streets in the Westlake area of Los Angeles about 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3. Above, a childhood picture of Guzman was placed at his memorial shrine.
Los Angeles Police Department officials said in a statement that Guzman, a former Belmont High School student, was walking on the sidewalk when three occupants inside a tan Saturn pulled up next to him. The front passenger of the car asked Guzman what gang he belonged to, the statement said. After Guzman responded with his gang name, the passenger exited the car and shot Guzman in the chest, the statement said.
Guzman was taken to L.A. County USC-Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Officers from LAPD's Rampart Division searched the area within minutes after the shooting and located the tan Saturn in the 400 block of Witmer Street, a block away from LAPD's new Rampart Station. Police arrested Norma Cortez, 43, and a Latino juvenile on suspicion of murder. A third person, a Latino man, escaped and remained at large, the statement said.
"We handle about 40 to 50 cases a day," said Lt. Cheryl MacWillie of the Los Angeles County coroner's office. Not all of the cases are homicides, but MacWillie says, "If there's a body on the street and a body at the hospital, which one do you think will get picked up first?"
On Saturday, flowers, a trucker hat and vigil candles were placed outside of an apartment building where Guzman was shot.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Rampart homicide Dets. John Motto or Michael Arteaga at (213) 484-3650. Callers can remain anonymous.
Photos: Top, Guzman's memorial shrine. Bottom, many of the sidewalks in this part of the Westlake area are dumping sites.
-Ruben Vives/Los Angeles Times
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Updated: Feb. 1, 2010 at 5:45 p.m.