More than one person died in a gang-related killing for every day of 1988 in Los Angeles County, said authorities who blamed the record number of deaths on turf and drug battles fought by well-armed street hoods.
Altogether, there were 452 gang-related slayings in the county, according to statistics compiled by all area law enforcement agencies and released by the sheriff's department on Friday."It's staggering," sheriff's Sgt. Wes McBride said. "We're in a crisis. They're still killing as fast as ever. I don't see any indication it'll go down."
"There's more than one a day," said V.G. Guinses, a gang counselor. "That doesn't include kids on life support, or people handicapped or paralyzed" by bullet wounds.
The slayings surpassed the previous record of 387 gang-related murders reported the year before, McBride said.
Earlier in the week, the Los Angeles police department reported that gang slayings in its jurisdiction reached a record 257 in 1988 compared with 205 the year before.
Some authorities blamed the increased carnage on the more sophisticated weapons that gang members are purchasing with profits from illegal drug sales.