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  Drive-by Shooting in Pico Neighborhood

By Jorge Casuso

September 29 – Police are looking for two men in connection with a drive-by shooting Tuesday afternoon behind Edison Elementary School in the Pico Neighborhood that left one victim injured, police said.

The suspects’ car was headed eastbound on Virginia Avenue across from the school playground at around 4:30 p.m. when one of he men opened fire on two male victims standing outside a building at 2425 Virginia Avenue, police said.

Fourteen shots were fired and one of the victims sustained an injury to the area above his lip when he ran from the scene to safety, police said.

“We don’t believe the wound was the result of a gunshot,” said Police Chief James T. Butts Jr., who went to the scene. “It was possibly (sustained) by falling.”

Police are looking for a compact dark grey vehicle that was last seen heading eastbound from the site of the shooting, Butts said.

A flag football league game was underway when the shooting took place, Butts said. The dozen or so students participating were taken into the school auditorium.

“We locked down,” Butts said. “That was the only thing going on at the school.”

Police cordoned off several blocks around the school as a news helicopter circled overhead. An investigation is underway.

“We’re collecting shell casings and looking for trajectories,” Butts said. “A number of witnesses are being interviewed.”

Police do not yet know if the shooting was gang-related.

“We have a smattering of gang members,” Butts said. “But my opinion is that if this is gang related, it’s somebody from outside the area.”

One of the suspects is identified as a Hispanic man in his twenties with a thin build. The other is only identified as a male Hispanic.

The area around Edison Elementary Police has been the scene of several violent incidents during the past year.

In November, two suspects chased and fired at a man near the school shortly before 3 p.m. in what investigators believed was a gang-related incident.

The following month, the area was cordoned off as police conducted an extensive search for an armed suspect wanted in connection to a burglary a block from the school.

In January, some three dozen concerned parents, who had not been notified about the incident by the district, attended a meeting with police and school officials to find out the events that led to the lockdown and what measures were being taken to avoid similar incidents in the future.

Anyone having information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Santa Monica Police Department at 310-458-8491 or the Watch Commander’s Office at 310-458-8426.

Callers who wish to provide anonymous information may also call the We-Tip national hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463).

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