A memorial filled with flowers, candles and balloons is growing where a teenage couple was shot and killed on Sunday night in Wilmington.
Meldrick A. Melgoza and Carolina Ramirez, both 16, were shot just after 7 p.m. Sunday in the 500 block of Bay View Avenue, near Wilmington Avenue, said Officer Cleon Joseph of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Someone walked up to the couple, fired multiple times then disappeared, said LAPD Capt. William Hayes, the commanding officer of the Harbor Division.
"We have no idea as to who it is right now," he said. "We’re in the early stages of the investigation. It doesn’t appear to be gang related."
Carolina’s uncle keeps coming back to the spot where the shooting took place. The emotions are overwhelming.
"I talked to my sister on Saturday and I told her, 'How is Carolina doing,' and she told me she was doing good," Felipe Rosas said with tears in his eyes.
Police have received sporadic reports of gunfire in the area, but this is the first shooting in about a month in which anyone’s been shot, Hayes said.
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When Evelyn Barrios heard the shots from inside her home, she knew instinctively to protect her children.
"The first three shots were panicking for us and I said, 'Please kids, drop to the floor, please, and cover your heads and try to hide behind a wall or something.'"
At this point, there’s no word of a motive. Police said the shooting does not appear to be gang related.
Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who represents the neighborhood and is a former police who patrolled the area, was at the scene Sunday night.
"This is disgusting," he said. "We as a community will not put up with this. To know that two teenagers were shot and killed here is unacceptable."
The shooting came on the heels of a recent community event and rally for solidarity against violence in Wilmington, Buscaino said.
Wilmington, in the harbor area of Los Angeles, has had eight slayings so far this year. Five of them happened in January.