A drive-by attack and a wild shootout between gang members and police shut down dozens of blocks of northeast Los Angeles for nearly six hours yesterday, stranding thousands of residents, keeping students locked in their classrooms, and leaving two people dead, the Los Angeles Times reports. Police officials described the bizarre midday shootings — and the widespread disruption they caused — as highly unusual even in an area known for gang activity. It left the neighborhood littered with shell casings and its residents fearful.
Police blamed the incident on the notorious Avenues gang, which continues to be active despite several high-profile attempts by authorities to shut it down. During a search, SWAT team members took position and patrol deputies went door to door with dogs in a neighborhood Police Chief William Bratton called the “heart and soul” of the Avenues street gang, whose roots there date back more than 50 years.