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Soldier Killed in Drive-by Shooting

June 26, 1991

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A 19-year-old soldier was shot to death in a drive-by attack while visiting relatives after six months in the Persian Gulf, authorities said.

The shooting also killed his cousin and wounded two others.

Pvt. Cesar Gardea was gunned down Tuesday in his cousin’s front yard by alleged gang members in a passing car, sheriff’s investigators said.

″This is not good,″ said Armando Ortiz, Gardea’s uncle. ″This man, or boy, is in action over there, then comes back here and is shot. I think it is more dangerous to be here.″

In letters to his girlfriend, Gardea told of being a tank driver on the front lines in the Persian Gulf War and said he feared for his life. Gardea had returned to suburban Baldwin Park, where he attended high school, for a weekend homecoming party while on leave.

Neither of the young men was affiliated with a gang, authorities said. But friends and family said Gardea’s cousin, Pablo Paez, dressed like a gang member.

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