A burst of gang violence left one man dead and three others wounded, including an innocent teenage bystander hit by a stray bullet in a shooting at a mall filled with Christmas shoppers, police said Saturday.
Sergio Alpuche, 16, of Van Nuys was struck in the head by the errant bullet while looking for Christmas presents Friday at Panorama Mall in the San Fernando Valley, Detective Mel Arnold said.Alpuche, a junior at Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, remained in critical condition Saturday at Holy Cross Hospital in Mission Hills, Arnold said.
"There were a couple of people shooting at another individual (but they) missed and hit this innocent kid," Sgt. Charles Meter said. "The guys that did the shooting are gang members. (But) this kid has no gang affiliation whatsoever."
No arrests were made in the shooting at the mall, which was crowded with Christmas shoppers, police said.
Gang killings in Los Angeles this year have already surpassed the total for 1987, and some gang experts believe that the bloodshed is increasing because publicity-hungry gang members have begun committing violence just to see it on the television news.
There have been at least 236 slayings in the city so far this year, a 15 percent increase from the 205 gang killings in all of 1987.