Police ask for public's help in finding suspected NoHo gunman

C.J. Lin
LA Daily News
Aug 10, 2010

An alleged gang member who tried to gun down a 9-year-old girl playing in a North Hollywood backyard continues to elude police and detectives on Tuesday asked the public for help in identifying the suspect.

Police could not say if the shooting was a gang-initiation rite and have not determined a motive, according to Detective John Weiler of the Los Angeles Police Department's Foothill Division.

The girl's family is not gang-affiliated, leaving investigators baffled as to why the girl was targeted.

"I honestly don't know the motivation," Weiler said. "Criminals are criminals and they commit crimes that sometimes nobody understands. They do it because they want to do it."

The girl, who was in a backyard in the 7800 block of Troost Avenue at 6:45 p.m. on July 27, was the shooter's intended target, Weiler said.

The suspect was driving through the alley in what was described only as a black sedan with three or four other male passengers when he stopped the car about 25 feet away from the girl, Weiler said.

The suspect made eye contact and fired four to six rounds at her from a semi-automatic handgun, missing her by inches, Weiler said. She escaped uninjured.

Initial reports indicated that there was a shootout in the alley, but there was no one else standing in the yard or alley, Weiler said.

"The placement of the rounds around her left us without a doubt that she was the intended target of this," Weiler said. "This could have been a murder. This was so close to the little girl dying."

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male with a piercing on his lip. He was wearing glasses atop his head, but it was unclear if those were prescription glasses, Weiler said.

The suspect's and passengers' clothing and appearance led police to believe that they are gang members, police said.

"Gang crime is very senseless," said Capt. Joseph Hiltner of LAPD's Foothill Division. "Clearly, the effort here was to take the life of a 9-year-old young lady, making it even more senseless than the other gang crimes we've seen in the city."

Anyone with more information is asked to call Detective Hector Guzman at 818-834-3115. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).