Gangs Terrorize Neighborhood, Says Family of Two Victims
POMONA, Calif. (AP) _ The family of a teen-ager shot to death in front of his home just feet from where his father was fatally shot in April says their neighborhood has become a shooting gallery for gang members.
″We always expect it on the weekend, starting Friday night,″ the victim’s grandmother, Josephine Zapien, said Sunday. ″It’s a nice, quiet neighborhood except on weekends, when trouble comes from the outside.″
Andrew Zapien, 19, was felled by gunfire from a vacant commercial building across the street as he arrived home about 12:45 a.m. Saturday, police spokeswoman Nancy Harmon said.
″I ran outside and Andrew was lying alongside the truck,″ said his mother, Dolores Zapien, who said the assailants fired 30 or more times.
Another son, Raul Jr., took Zapien to Pomona Valley Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. It was the same hospital where his father died in April.
″They fire at anybody who goes into this neighborhood,″ Mrs. Zapien said Saturday. ″I have to get out of this house.″
Ms. Harmon said Sunday she knew of no arrests yet in the shooting, which police say is gang-related.
On April 13, Mrs. Zapien’s husband, Raul, 44, was shot in the back of the head as he sat on the porch with two other family members, said Sgt. Dale La Fleur. He died two days later.
The shots were fired from a passing pickup truck. Four men were held briefly in the shooting, but no one was ever charged, said La Fleur.
In February, Josephine Zapien and her daughter received minor injuries in another drive-by shooting that occurred while they were in the living room of the home, about 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.
″We were just visiting there with my son when a car went by and there was shooting,″ she said. She was struck in the shoulder and her daughter was hit in the abdomen, but neither required hospitalization, she said, adding that she knew of no arrests in the case.
Because of the danger, Andrew Zapien had purchased a flak jacket for protection when he went outside, said his mother. But he was not wearing it when he went out late Friday.
The primarily Hispanic neighborhood of single-family homes, where the Zapiens have lived for six years, is spattered with gang graffiti. Shots have been fired into other residences, but no one else has been injured, Dolores Zapien said.
She said neither her son nor any other relatives belonged to a gang, and she doesn’t believe the same shooters were involved in the separate incidents.
But she fears more violence against herself, her remaining son and daughter, Michelle, 17.
″It’s just that we live on a main street,″ she said. ″Kids from across town come here to make trouble. We’re in the way.″