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PhD student, father-to-be killed in LA drive-by shooting

August 15, 2019

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A doctoral student who dreamed of working for NASA someday was one of two childhood friends killed in a drive-by shooting that left a third man wounded in South Los Angeles, authorities and family members said.

The men who died were standing outside a parked car when a passenger in another vehicle opened fire Wednesday evening, police said.

Family members identified the victims as Jose Flores Velasquez, 23, and Alfredo Carrera, 26, and said the pair had grown up on the street where they were shot. Velasquez’s father, Ramon Flores, told KCBS-TV his son had come back to South LA to bring gifts to Carrera, who was about to have a baby.

Velasquez was a doctoral candidate studying math and astronomy at University of California, Irvine, Flores said.

He said his son’s studies had taken him to Harvard University, California State Polytechnic University at Pomona and universities in New York and Chicago.

“Very good student,” Flores said, choking back sobs.

Velasquez died at the scene. Carrera was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The wounded man was putting his 1-year-old daughter into her car seat when gunfire ran out, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Derrick Alfred said. The man used his body to shield the girl and was struck in the back before the gunman’s care sped away, Alfred said. The man, who asked not to be identified, was treated at a hospital and released.

The suspect vehicle was described only as a dark sedan. Investigators have not identified a possible motive.

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