California Highway Patrol officers were warned Saturday of possible death threats from one of the city's major gangs in purported retaliation for past arrests.
Meanwhile, a task force of more than 200 police officers arrested 154 people in the latest drop of the department's "Hammer" against crime and violence in gang-infested areas of central Los Angeles.The CHP broadcast a statewide warning for its officers to be vigilent when stopping motorists because of the unverified threat purportedly from the Crips, the largest of the city's two large affiliations of black gangs.
"The Crips gang has threatened to kill five CHP officers a day in retaliation for past arrests," CHP spokesman Mike Brey. He said the Highway Patrol typically has little involvement in the periodic police anti-gang sweeps, but may arrest gang members at roadside sobriety check-points.
CHP officials were trying to determine whether the purported threat was made by an actual member of the Crips. Brey said he did not know how the threat was communicated to the CHP.
CHP Officer Monty Keifer said despite the purported threat there had been no incidents of violence against Highway Patrol officers.
Police, meanwhile, returned in force to several gang-plagued areas of the central city.
A contingent of 219 officers began the sweep at 6 p.m. Friday, carrying wanted bulletins, photos and other information about specific gang suspects being sought for various crimes, detective Dave Powers said.
Officers arrested 154 people, including 92 gang members, issued 104 traffic citations, impounded 21 cars and seized four guns.
Since late February, police have sent dozens of task forces into neighborhoods where gang activity is especially heavy. More than 20,000 people - nearly half of them gang members - have been arrested in the sweeps, dubbed the "Hammer" by Police Chief Daryl Gates.
Also Friday night, an unidentified 21-year-old gang member was shot to death in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County east Comp-ton.
Sheriff's Deputy Bill Wehner said the man was walking down the driveway of a home when two people drove up in a dark-colored car.
One man left the car, shouted a gang slogan and fired two shots, striking the man once in the back. The wounded man was taken to Do-minquez Valley Hospital where he died. No arrests had been made.
Los Angeles police say there were 207 gang killings in the first 10 months of the year. In all of 1987, there were a previous record 205 gang slayings in the city.
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies report there were 79 gang slayings through October.