Police arrested one Echo Park gang member after a SWAT team equipped with a battering ram used flash-bang grenades on Tuesday night while serving search warrants at several Elysian Heights homes. Police and residents said the search for narcotics included the residence of former Echo Park gang leader Eric Zamarripa, who was fatally shot in front of his Baxter Street home in February 2009 during what police have described as a gang feud.
Lt. John Cook with the Northeast Division said another male suspect who was taken into custody last night has been released. He would not provide the name of the suspect who remained in custody but said he was a member of the Echo Park gang. Narcotics detectives are reviewing evidence as they prepare to present their case to the District Attorney for the filing of charges, Cook said.
The blasts from the flash-bang grenades – which are used by police to distract suspects – at about 10 p.m. startled many residents living near Echo Park Avenue and Baxter Street, the scene of several shootings, gun shots and police activity in recent years. The narrow and hilly streets off Echo Park Avenue were packed last night with police and SWAT team vehicles, including a battering ram that was not used. “Because of the potential for violence, SWAT served the warrant,” Cook said.