LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Two childhood friends were killed and a neighbor was wounded in a drive-by shooting in the driveway of a South Los Angeles home.
A shooting at about 7 p.m. Wednesday in the 1100 block of East 68th Street killed the two men. The father of 23-year-old Jose Flores Velazquez identified his son as one of the men killed in the shooting. Ramon Flores said his son had come to South LA to bring gifts to a longtime friend who was about to have a baby.
Velazquez, who had dreamed of working for NASA and had already presented some of his research to Congress, was currently a PhD candidate studying math and astronomy at UC Irvine, Flores said. A “UC Irvine” sticker was still visible in the rear window of a silver VW Golf, underneath the jagged holes left by gunfire. Velazquez was declared dead at the scene of the shooting.
Flores said his son had spent time studying at Harvard, Cal Poly Pomona and other universities in New York and Chicago.
“Very good student,” Flores said, in a grief-choked voice. “No more.”
The second man was identified by family members at the scene as 26-year-old Alfredo Carrera, who was expecting his first baby. After the shooting, Carrera was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Velazquez and Carrera had grown up together six houses apart on the street where they were shot. Velasquez’s sister said her brother would come back to visit as often as possible.
“His motivation was his family. He wanted to succeed to help them,” she said.
The shooting wounded a neighbor who was putting his 1-year-old daughter in her car seat in the back of a pickup truck. He asked to not be identified.
“The third victim, who apparently had been loading his daughter into the backseat of a pickup truck when he heard the shots ring out, he covered her body with his body and he was struck by gunfire in the back,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Derrick Alfred said.
He said he and his family were headed to the park and his wife had just run inside for a sweater when he heard the gunfire. He said slammed the door to protect his daughter, and felt a bullet hit him in his rear. He says doctors advised him to leave it in, and he was subsequently released from the hospital.
The suspect vehicle was described only as some type of dark sedan. Investigators say there was no indication the shooter knew or had targeted any of the three men.