BY LUCY GUANUNA
ELYSIAN VALLEY — One of two men suspected of shooting two cyclists during a robbery on the LA River bike path has been arrested, police said.
19-year-old David Umana was taken into custody on Thursday night in connection with the Sept. 9 shooting of a father and son who were riding on the path with their family. Umana is not from the area and is not associated with any gang, said detective Ryan Lamar with LAPD Northeast Division. The detective said the suspects are not believed to be connected to any other crime in the area.
The victims were riding on the L.A. River path with their family at around 9 p.m. on when the two suspects demanded their bikes, said detective Larry Burcher with the Northeast Division. After an argument, the suspects shot the cyclists in the legs. One of the suspects rode away on one of the victim’s bikes.
The victims, a man in his late 20s and his father, in his late 40s, are recuperating, said police.
News of the arrest came the day before Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, along with officers of LAPD’s Northeast Division, hosted a community walk along the L.A. River bike path in Elysian Valley to “address public safety concerns and promote public safety,” said a statement released by the councilmember’s office.
“[O’Farrell] was extremely upset about the shooting, and says we’ve come too far and worked too hard to reduce crime in the area and improve the pathway for everyone in Elysian Valley,” said council spokesman Tony Arranaga.
Robberies and property theft happens on and near the L.A. River although it does not happen regularly, said Burcher. A man was shot and killed along the L.A. River earlier this year while riding his bike on the bike path in Bell Gardens.
“As far as people being robbed or their property taken at gunpoint or by bodily force, it happens more than I’d like it to happen, but it doesn’t happen on a regular basis,” said Burcher.
Advocates of restoring the river say improvements could help improve safety on the bike path. Some of their recommendations have included better lighting, cameras and an increased police presence.
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Lucy Guanuna is a freelance reporter who has covered a variety of issues, including business, education and social justice movements in her native Los Angeles. Her work has been published in the Daily Sundial, L.A. Activist, and the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.
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