Mayor Praises Summer Night Lights Program Despite Shooting

The mayor praised the program, despite a shooting Thursday night which occurred as people were leaving a Summer Night Lights program.

Summer Night Lights is such a source of pride for founder LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Thursday night he brought busloads of visiting mayors to see the anti-violence program.

Locals say extra police and extra lighting does cut down on crime.

Yet, two people were wounded, shortly after midnight on Thursday in a shooting that occurred after a Summer Night Lights event.

An 18-year-old man and a 14-year-old girl were hospitalized at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center after the shooting at Wilmington Recreation Center. About 30 people were walking away from the Summer Night Lights event at 325 Neptune Avenue at about 12:05 a.m. when a man in a vehicle fired shots, police said.

Lt. Robert Long said the shooting appears to be gang-related.

"He fired into the crowd of youths," said Long.

Villaraigosa was in Washington D.C. during part of Thursday to lobby for a transportation bill, but he spoke with reporters on a conference call. He said the 2010 Summer Night Lights program led to a 50 percent drop in homicides and a 40 percent drop in gang-related crimes near the parks.

"Frankly, when you look at the dramatic drop in violence around these parks, it actually makes the case for expanding these programs,'' Villaraigosa said. "And of course we'll make sure that there are plenty of officers at all of our parks as we have in the past.''

Thursday night in Costello Park, first-time volunteers from the US Attorneys Office were aware of the Wilmington shooting, but not discouraged.

"It really bolsters the importance of a program like this, and the fact that we're doing this as we speak, shows we're not gonna be deterred by that, and we're going to continue doing it. We've had historic reduction of crime throughout the," according to Andre Birotte Jr., US Attorney.

Last Thursday, an alleged gang member was shot by rival gang members in South Los Angeles during a Summer Night Lights event at Van Ness Park.

Long said anyone with information about the shooting can call 310-726-7890.

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