This weekend saw a heightened police presence – as well as the sound of more gunshots – across Cypress Park and Highland Park in the wake of last week’s shootings that left two men dead and a third seriously injured in what is believed to be gang related violence. Homicide detective P.J. Morris of the Northeast LAPD division said no one has been arrested in the killing of 17-year-old Jonathan Val – who was shot on Wednesday, April 28 in the 300 block of North Avenue 57 in Highland Park – or of 33-year-old Richard Chavez, who was shot Sunday, April 25 in the 600 block of Romulo Street in Cypress Park. Detectives are also seeking suspects in the April 25 shooting in Cypress Park near Avenue 37 and Figueroa Street that left another 17-year-old seriously wounded. It looks like that nonfatal shooting is connected to either one or both of the homicides, but Morris said detectives are sifting through information and statements to determine if that is case. “We are still trying to figure that out.”
The recent shootings as well as police activity have – not too surprisingly – many residents worried. “Sporadic sirens and helicopters over Highland Park today. NELA is on edge,” said aTwitter post by the publisher of of the 90042 blog.
The violence appears to reflect long standing tensions between the Avenues gang in Highland Park and rivals in Cypress Park instead of a single, recent event. “This has been going on for years,” Morris said. “They are just historical enemies.”
Morris said that anyone with any information on the killings should contact him via email at [email protected]