A pair of New Year's Eve shootings in Lakewood and Hawthorne left two people dead and several people hurt Monday night. The crime scene investigation in Hawthorne lasted all day Tuesday. Detectives have yet to identify suspects in the shootings. Patrick Healy reports from Hawthorne for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on January 1, 2013.
Separate shootings at New Year's Eve gatherings in Lakewood and Hawthorne left two men dead, and eight others wounded.
The shooting in Lakewood resulted from gang belligerence, according to a witness at the gathering who spoke to NBC4. She asked to remain anonymous, citing fear of retaliation. The motivation for the separate attack in Hawthorne remains unclear.
The Lakewood shooting occurred during an argument at the residence in the 20700 block of Alburtis Avenue, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
The witness offered more detail. According to her account, family members and friends had gathered to welcome the New Year. Several were outside when three men approached the fenced yard and challenged a friend of hers with their gang affiliation. "They started exchanging words," she said. "After that we heard gunshots."
Judging from the sound, at least two different weapons were fired, according to the recollection of several neighbors. One of them, Jose Martinez, saw a man running from the scene with an apparent injury to his leg. That man was last seen heading west from Alburtis on 208th Street.
One victim was pronounced dead at a hospital. First reports indicated three others were wounded, but the Sheriff's department later update that to five wounded.
In Hawthorne, two hours after the Lakewood gunfire, one man was killed and three others were wounded in a shooting early Tuesday morning. Deputies responded to the scene of what had been a night-long New Year's eve party in the 13600 block of Cerise Avenue. Many of the revelers were outside on the driveway that is common to five adjoining homes on one property.
The sound of gunfire brought neighbors out of their homes. "They said, 'somebody just came up and started shooting,'" according to a woman who said she had recently moved to the neighborhood from out of state and did not want to be identified.
One victim died where he went down in the street. Two of the wounded were driven from the scene in private autos, according to Sheriff's Sgt. Diane Hecht. The other was transported by ambulance.
The investigations of both shooting attacks are being supervised by Sheriff's Homicide Lt. David Coleman. He issued summary accounts of both through Sgt. Hecht, but declined to speculate on motive.
No arrests were reported in the shootings, nor were suspect descriptions provided.
Notwithstanding the parallel of gunmen approaching New Year's Eve gatherings, Sheriff's investigations found no connection between the two attacks.