SOUTH LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A family is mourning the death of a 65-year-old man caught in crossfire during a South Los Angeles pursuit Wednesday.
It was around 11 p.m. when Mary Starks says her son, Ricky Starks, told her he was going to ride his bike, as he normally did, to get cigarettes. He didn’t come home.
She would learn L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies exchanged gunfire with at least one suspect during a pursuit that wound its way from Compton into Inglewood shortly after her son walked out the door.
“It was terrible,” she told CBS2/KCAL9’s Dave Lopez. Starks, and others in the community, remember her son as someone always willing to help others.
“He did a lot of things around the neighborhood,” she said.
“Rick was such a nice person. A handyman — always working on people’s cars, mowing their lawns, trying to be helpful,” a neighbor added.
Security cameras captured a portion of what happened that night in Compton. Deputies say they were chasing an Escalade after suspecting the driver was under the influence. Deputies say one of two people inside the vehicle started firing at the deputies using an AK-47. They returned fire. Detectives say Starks was crossing near West Spruce St. when he was hit.
After Starks was shot, the chase continued for six more miles into Inglewood
Sheriff Alex Villanueva also said a helicopter was fire upon and hit. In a statement released on Twitter, he stated in part: “We are saddened by the loss of an innocent, likely at the hands of the suspects, not ours.”
The driver was captured. The passenger escaped and detectives say they have yet to find the AK-47.
Detectives say the Escalade was registered to rapper YG. They say he was not in the SUV at the time of the shooting.
The rapper, in a statement released Friday, said he was at a recording studio at the time of the pursuit and had no knowledge about the incident until after the fact. YG was meanwhile scheduled to perform Saturday at KAOS Nightclub at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. That performance has meanwhile been rescheduled to a future date.