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Three Arrested in Skid Row Double Murder

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Photo by alexbcthompson via Flickr

Photo by alexbcthompson via Flickr
Last Easter Sunday, downtown Los Angeles experienced the neighbor's first murders of the year. Two skid row residents were shot and killed inside the Lamp Lodge on Stanford at 7th Street. Kevin “KK” Cohen, 49, and Tommie Hayes, 27, were found around 5 a.m. that morning with multiple gunshot wounds. Both were not staying at the hotel. "One of the men was found in the hotel’s first-floor lounge, and the other victim had walked out of the hotel after the shooting and collapsed in the parking lot," the LA Times reported a week after the incident. Five weeks into the investigation, a couple of arrests led detectives to Lemont Ward, 40, who is believed to be Hayes' rival drug dealer. Apparently, he hired Shanana Flores, 33, and Richard Luna, 28, to kill Hayes. Cohen was probably an unintended victim. "We may never know for sure how or why Cohen was shot,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, head of detectives for the Central Police Station.

Flores was arrested on June 27th on unrelated drug charges and Luna, an alleged East Los Angeles gang member, had been in prison on an unrelated weapons violation since May 10. Then Ward was arrested July 1 in Inglewood as he sat in the guard house of an up-scale, gated community where he worked nights as a security guard. Charges have been filed against all three.

Cohen was known for his recent work in the film The Soloist. He "helped the film’s directors and production team understand and accurately portray the poverty-stricken neighborhood, said Thomas Napper, second unit director for 'The Soloist,'" reported the Downtown News. "Additionally, Cohen encouraged Napper to embark on a related documentary that focuses on the stories of Skid Row residents. The film, called 'The Chorus,' is in post-production."