A barrage of gunfire rang out at a house party on a quiet Inglewood street early Sunday, with multiple gunmen killing four in what the mayor said was a targeted ‘ambush’.
The gang-related shooting was the worst in the city since the 1990s, Mayor James Butts said.
“These are sociopathic killers who need to be separated from society,” he said. “Our entire homicide unit is working on this crime.”
The victims were shot in a home used as an “unregulated” short-term rental in the 1300 block of Park Avenue around 1:45 a.m., Butts said. Three people were dead when paramedics arrived. Two others were treated on the spot, then taken to hospitals, where one died. Officials said the dead were two men and two women.
Butts called the shooting an “ambush” style attack in statements to reporters at the scene. He said there were several suspects and one of them was armed with an assault rifle.
The surviving victim indicated that she was affiliated with a gang in another city and had “extensive criminal history,” Butts said. The targeted nature of the shooting, the weapons used and statements from the suspects before the shooting show the crime was gang-related, he said. He called it the highest number of shooting victims in a single crime in Inglewood since the 1990s.
A family friend of one of the victims said the young woman was at the party to celebrate her birthday, which was on Sunday.
The residence where the shooting took place sits in the middle of a tree-lined neighborhood filled with historic homes. Patricia Bardley, 69, has lived three doors down from the house for more than 40 years. She says she was woken up by a phone call from a neighbor who told her he had witnessed a shooting.
She was shocked to learn that paramedics were treating a gunshot victim lying on the sidewalk and two others in nearby yards.
An officer came to his door to question him shortly after. As she looked outside, she saw police storming her street and heard helicopters hovering above her head.
“It’s out of place in this neighborhood,” she said. “We were surprised that people would have a big party like this. Normally it’s just family gatherings and things like that.
Dion Cavitte, who also lives in the area, said he heard “gunshots nonstop…cherry bombs don’t sound like that.”
Delories Minor lives about a block from the scene of the shooting and heard what she thought were heavy gunfire, followed by a car traveling north on Park Avenue. About half an hour later, Minor, 82, heard a woman crying loudly in the street.
“She was crying and said, ‘Why did you have to go to that party? I asked you not to come. “
About 30 people gathered Sunday afternoon at the corner of East Brett St. and North Park Avenue, a few hundred meters from the scene of the shooting. Police tape blocked off the area and a dozen yellow evidence markers could be seen outside the house where the party was being held as police questioned residents and searched for clues.
Neither an Inglewood police spokesperson nor detectives responded to questions about the circumstances of the shooting.
On Sunday evening, around 20 people gathered in front of a memorial erected at the corner of Brett Street and Park Avenue. Relatives hugged in front of a table adorned with photos of two young women killed in the shooting and balloons that read “Happy Birthday”.
A family friend of the victims said the two women seen in the exposed photos were sisters. They were celebrating the younger brother’s birthday when they were shot.
The shooting comes as the region faces worsening gun violence. While recent crime statistics for Inglewood were unavailable on Sunday, nearby communities have seen an increase in shootings and homicides over the past year.
In Los Angeles in 2021, the city has seen 397 homicides, the most in a single year in the last 15 years. Throughout LA County, in cities and unincorporated communities covered by the Sheriff’s Department, there were 281 murders.
Law enforcement officials in both regions have blamed the increase in killings on the growing availability of firearms, added to the destabilizing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities.
Sunday’s shooting happened about 2.5 miles north of SoFi Stadium, which in about two and a half weeks will host Super Bowl LVI.