Man Slain in Roadway Dispute
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A man riding home after a batting-practice session in the park was fatally shot by a motorist angry because he thought the man’s car was not going fast enough, authorities said.
The shooting recalled last summer’s rash of shootings on roads when hot- heads turned to weapons to air their grievances with other motorists. Five people were killed and more than a dozen injured. One man was left paralyzed.
Kurt Runge, 23, of Sun Valley, died today, 2 1/2 hours after the 10:10 p.m. shooting in North Hollywood, said police Sgt. Steve Millarr.
Runge had been practicing at a baseball batting cage at Castle Park in Van Nuys, said Detective Mike Coffey. He was heading home with a friend when a motorist behind their car became angry.
″The suspect drove next to the victim and shot at them for driving too slowly,″ Millarr said.
The driver, a childhood friend of Runge, said he heard about three shots. Runge was shot in the chest.
Police believe the shots were fired from a white, early 1980s model Chevrolet Caprice carrying two men.
″Detectives have information that a light-colored van and additional vehicles were traveling near the victim’s vehicle and possibly witnessed the event,″ Millarr said.
Last week, an armed motorist apparently became angered when a car stalled in front of him at a Tustin intersection and shot at the stopped auto, critically injuring a passenger, police said.
Three men recently went on trial in three of the summer shootings. Two testified they meant to scare other drivers.
On Wednesday, Margarito Leyva, 27, of Newhall was acquitted of attempted murder and other felonies in an August shooting involving a California Highway Patrol officer. But he was convicted of possessing a firearm in a vehicle and possessing a concealed weapon.
He faces a maximum six-month jail term when sentenced March 2, said Public Defender James M. Coady.