21-Year-Old Man Returning from Church Event Killed in Hawthorne Triple Shooting

Three people returning from a church event were shot, including a 21-year-old man who was killed, in a car-to-car shooting in Hawthorne early Sunday morning, officials said.

The shooting was reported just after 2:15 a.m. near the intersection of Rosecrans Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard, according to Hawthorne Police Department Lt. Gary Tomatani and LA County Sheriff's Department.

The male driver, identified by family as 21-year-old William Junior Fifita, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Family members said Fifita was returning home from a dance at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Torrance.

Fifita's father said his son was a freshman football player at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut and just finished a two-year mission with the church.

Detectives said two men in a dark sedan drove up to the victims' gray Volkswagen Jetta near the northeast corner of the intersection and at least one suspect opened fire, striking three of the four people inside the car.

A witness nearby said he heard tires screeching, followed by screams.

Surveillance video showed the victims' car accelerating and crashing in a parking lot of a nearby business seconds after the shooting. Two male passengers were seen getting out of the car and checking on the driver.

The suspect vehicle fled eastbound and out of view on Rosecrans Avenue.

Three occupants of the Jetta were found suffering from gunshot wounds, police said. Two other male victims were transported to a local area hospital in unknown conditions, Tomatani said.

A fourth female occupant was uninjured. She returned to the scene Sunday morning, and family members said her cousin was driving the car.

No description of the suspects was immediately available. LA County Sheriff's Department Homicide were investigating the circumstances that led up to the deadly shooting.

Crenshaw Boulevard at Rosecrans Avenue was closed during the investigation for an unknown amount of time, police said.

Authorities first reported the shooting took place in Gardena but later said the location was Hawthorne.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

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