Oscar Escobar-Lazo, 21
Died April 26, 2008 at 12:25 a.m.
Oscar Antonio Escobar-Lazo, 21, a Latino man, was shot and mortally wounded at the intersection of Melrose Avenue and Hobart Boulevard in Hollywood about 11:20 p.m. Friday, April 25. Escobar was taken to County-USC Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 12:25 a.m. the next day, according to authorities.
Police said Escobar-Lazo was on his way home, carrying take-out food for his family, when he was shot by two Latino men. The men were seen fleeing in a 1990s black Honda Accord, said police spokeswoman Kate Lopez. According to Det. Wendi Bernt of LAPD's Hollywood homicide unit, Escobar was killed by gang members who were driving around Hollywood looking for a random victim.
Relatives said Escobar-Lazo was talking to his cousin on a cellphone before the shooting happened. Escobar-Lazo said he was being followed by a group of men in a car and that they had said something, drove ahead of him, parked and waited, his cousin, William Lazo, 30, recalled.
When the phone call cut out, Lazo called Escobar-Lazo's girlfriend, Erika Lino, 21, saying he feared something bad had happened to her boyfriend. She ran outside and saw yellow police tape a block away. By the time Lino reached the corner, paramedics already had taken Escobar-Lazo away. He died minutes later at the hospital, according to a coroner's report.
Lino said she stays away from the apartment they shared. "I constantly keep thinking that he's going to show up," said Lino, who is living mostly at her mother's apartment.
Family members described Escobar-Lazo as an honest man and a hard worker. He emigrated from El Salvador three years ago, Lino said, and worked in construction in California and Houston.
He loved soccer; the last time Escobar's uncle Jose Mario Escobar, 36, saw him was at the international soccer game between El Salvador and China at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Escobar-Lazo's uncle said he recorded parts of the game on his cellphone. "Had I known that was going to be the last time...to see him, I would have instead recorded him all night," the uncle said.
Family members said Escobar-Lazo planned on staying in the U.S. for two more years, then wanted to build a home in El Salvador with his father and brother. Lino said she would like to go back to El Salvador, because that is what Escobar-Lazo wanted, but, she said, her daughters have a better future here.
"They cut my nephew's life short," said the uncle. "You come to this country in search of a better life only to lose it."
Anyone with information is asked to call Hollywood Homicide Dets. Rolando Rodriguez at (213) 972-2910 or Larry Cameron at (213) 972-2913.
Follow the Homicide Report on Twitter @latimeshomicide.
Updated: Jan. 24, 2010 at 9:46 p.m.