Los Angeles – A gunman on a bicycle shot a Mexican immigrant as he cradled his 1-year-old boy in his arms on a South Los Angeles street, killing the infant, police said Tuesday.
The 24-year-old father, Mauro Cortez of the Mexican state of Jalisco, was attacked Monday evening on a sidewalk in an area that has been plagued by gang violence, police said. The gunman appeared to be a 15- to 17-year-old boy in a hoodie sweatshirt, police said.
He rode past the father and fired several shots, police Capt. Phillip Tingirides told KCAL-TV.
The baby, Angel Mauro Cortez Nava, was shot in the stomach and died at a hospital following surgery. The father was struck in the shoulder and remained hospitalized in stable condition, police said.
"He was always here playing with the baby," Maria Trujillo, an member of the family Cortez lived with, told the Los Angeles Times. "The baby was his life.”
Police have not released a motive, though Tingirides said investigators were leaning heavily toward gang rivalry. The attacker was black and the father is Latino, authorities said.
The attacker may have mistook the group Cortez was standing with for members of a rival gang, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Cortez wore a purple shirt as he held his baby. The color is associated with the Barrio Grape street gang, a Latino group that has been fighting with a black rival gang called Fudgetown. He took it off at the recommendation of a family member, but someone else in the group of people Cortez was with also wore a purple shirt, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The conflict between the gangs has led to more than a half-dozen killings in the area in the last year, police said.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press