PALMS (CBSLA.com) —Some residents of Palms are on edge after a recent spike of violent crime, not all of it gang-related.
CBS2’s Amy Johnson was there Thursday when residents met with community leaders and law enforcement to try to come up with ways to make their community safer.
“We will not become prisoners of fear and be held up in our own homes,” said Carlos Chicas, who helped coordinate the event.
A lot of the violence has occurred in Woodbine Park.
“In the past week,” Chicas said, “we have been forced to bear witness to two murders and three attempted murders.”
Investigators say the murder around 3 p.m. last Thursday of Justin Aguilar, 27, was gang-related.
“He immediately got into a fight with several gang members who were hanging out in this park,” said LAPD Lt. John Radtke. “Within moments, that turned into a gunfight.”
In all, three people were shot. Police said they have all three suspects in custody.
There was another unrelated gang shooting less than an hour later just blocks away.
Resident Jeanne Parker is outraged.
“I resent the fact that hoodlums came in and disrupted kids playing,” she said, “I don’t like that. That’s not right. And I want [gang members] out of here.”
A homicide in the area Wednesday was not gang-related. Johnson said the most recent murder has residents on edge, concerned and angry.
They’re also a bit confused.
“Anyone could tell that this guy is harmless,” Nate Jackson said about his neighbor Christopher Paul.
Jackson said Paul was fatally shot near their apartment building after he went out for coffee.
“If they attack him, it just really makes you wonder as a resident here in Palms, who’s next?” Jackson asked.
Police are asking for the public’s help to capture the suspect.
Authorities have also increased patrols in the area.
“I think there is a brazen element to it. Of course, it is alarming ,and it’s something that definitely has our attention,” LAPD Deputy Chief Beatrice Girmala said.
Chicas wants residents to take back their streets.