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Roadway Violence Claims Fifth Death

August 24, 1987

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ California’s roadway violence claimed its fifth death of the summer when a woman shot in an apparently motiveless attack as she rode on an inner-city street last week died without regaining consciousness.

Shortly after Debbie Ann Scott of Pasadena died Sunday night, another driver was critically wounded in the same streets of south-central Los Angeles, where gang members frequently act out their rivalries in so-called drive-by shootings.

Anthony Bonilla, 20, was shot Sunday night and was in critical condition today, Sgt. John Kinard said. He lost control of the car and crashed. No arrests had been made by early today, Kinard said.

″We have no witnesses, so without being able to talk to him, we don’t know whether it was a traffic-related shooting or if somebody fired at him from off the street, or even that it was gang- or narcotics-related ,″ Kinard said.

Ms. Scott, 26, of Pasadena was critically wounded Aug. 16 while riding in the cab of a pickup truck in south-central Los Angeles. Police said someone in a passing car fired at the truck in what appeared to be a random attack. No arrests have been made.

Authorities also reported that a highway patrolman was fired on from a truck Saturday, and three people were arrested.

Meanwhile, Gov. George Deukmejian launched a $29 million offensive against the rash of attacks on the state’s highways and byways.

In his weekly radio address Saturday, Deukmejian announced a $29 million plan to fight highway violence by adding 180 people to the California Highway Patrol and doubling the force’s emergency overtime funds.

The governor noted that since mid-June, the CHP has tallied 119 incidents of roadway violence statewide.

Five people have been killed and at least 19 injured on California streets and highways in the violence, which began in mid-June and includes shootings, stabbings and other attacks. Many of the incidents appear rooted in traffic disputes, but some gunmen apparently chose their targets at random.

Ms. Scott, who had been on life-support systems all week, died just Sunday night at Martin Luther King Jr.-Drew Medical Center, according to a nursing supervisor.

In the Saturday attack, a Highway Patrol officer was parked beside the Sierra Highway in Newhall, 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles, when a pickup truck passed in a blaze of gunfire.

Four or five shots were fired, said Officer Richard Perez, a CHP spokesman. The officer chased a pickup truck and stopped it about six minutes after the shooting, he said.

Arrested and booked for investigation of attempted murder were Alfred Pellares, 33, Margarito Leyva, 27, and Victor Espinoza, 21, all of Newhall, Perez said.

A .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol was found on the highway near the scene, Perez said.

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