4-Year-Old Killed in Shooting near Downtown
Roberto Lopez just turned four last December. Late yesterday afternoon he was walking with his sister two doors down to a community center on the 1200 block of Court St. near Angelino Heights and Historic Filipinotown when a bullet fatally struck him in the chest. Police are not sure exactly what happened yet but the "prevailing theory" based on very preliminary information is that shots came from a moving red car, reported as a Scion, to a group of men on the sidewalk, said Lt. John Romero of the LAPD over the phone. As the vehicle hit the crest of the hill at Bixel, Roberto found himself in the path of a bullet, about 100 yards away from the shooter. "He was not likely the target," Romero said.
So far, there is no suspect description. "We know that there were a lot of people out and about. We know we have witnesses, but the area has significant gang influence so they don't always want to come forward." Police believe this may be gang related, but are still leaving all options open.
"He is the fourth Echo Park kid to be killed by gunfire in a little more than two years," noted Jesue Sanchez at his blog, The Eastsider LA. "All three of those previous murders -which claimed the lives a 9-year-old girl in Angeleno Heights, a 13-year-old boy near Echo Park Lake and a 15-year-old in an Echo Park alley - remain unsolved."
Romero said the LAPD has anonymous tip lines that have third party "anonymizers." 1-877-LAPD247 requires that the caller stay anonymous and there is a choice to enable a voice anonymizer. You can also use the Text at Tip tool on their website or literally text a tip via a cell phone by texting a message beginning with "LAPD" to "crimes".