Northeast Shootout

Ξ February 24th, 2008 | → 14 Comments | ∇ 90041, 90042, 90065, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Press |

When he made a three point turn to follow me up towards Fig, I knew I was in trouble. I just hoped he wasn’t going to nail me for a bogus rolling stop. A few seconds later, he hit the lights, and drowned out my car in a spotlight that ate through my paintjob.

“Sir, do you know why I stopped you?”

I can’t deal with the LAPD without smiling just a bit, thinking about the Colbert line: “I don’t see race. I know I’m white because police officers call me sir”.

I suppressed a smile and thought, “Ahhhh, because some of the locals boys shot at the police yesterday in Cypress Park and now you’re looking for a pretext to search my car for drugs and guns?” But I figure the cops have it tough enough without taking lip from me so what I really said was: “No”

For those of you that missed the local news, front page of the Times, and the snarled traffic, the Avenues shot it out with the LAPD in Glassell Park after a driveby in Cypress Park on Thursday. After shutting down about a dozen square blocks, calling in the SWAT team, and loosing the K9 units, the final score: 1 Murdered bystander (the target of the original driveby), 1 dead gang member (shot by the police), and one wounded gang member. The Times wrote a riveting account of the gunfight with a follow-up in today’s front page. (Read the respective articles here and here).

I thought their map was pretty poor, (They place Oxy on the wrong side of Eagle Rock Blvd. for example) so I redid it through Google.

View Larger Map

As usual, I can’t help but chirp up when our neighborhood makes the news, either good or bad. What this event had me pondering was that Northeast Los Angeles seems to be an increasingly balkanized region of the city. Do any of us see this happening in Eagle Rock? The border of Silverlake and Echo Park used to erupt in violence but today, the most dangerous confrontation is likely to be between hipsters and writers over space in the Pinkberry parking lot. I even have a hard time imagining the “sketchy because there’s no Starbucks” Highland Park erupting in this kind of large scale gang violence. I’d like to think I’m not naïve. I see the guys hanging out on the corner, I hear the gunshots and sirens, and I see the tags. Still, does anyone else feel Cypress Park is a world away from the bordering neighborhoods of Glassell Park and Eagle Rock? On the other side of Forrest Lawn, Drew St. seems like it’s on the other side of the San Gabriels.

Still in my car, waiting for Officer Doce to write me a fixit ticket for my headlights, I can think of at least one positive for the neighborhood. Chief Bratton, who is in love with statistics, desperately wants to keep his COMPSTAT rates low, and Villaraigosa wants to have a legacy of lowering crime when he seeks reelection and eventually higher office. Priority number one is going to be to flood Northeast with uniforms for the foreseeable future. Just be extra cautious when driving because LAPD is looking for any reason to roust you.

UPDATE: Saw this today while on a walk. It’s a little hard to read because of the water, but with my basic understanding of tag the point seems to be paying respect to their fallen comrade with a not so subtle threat to the police. If anyone konws more than me, feel free to post it below.


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