Deadly shooting rattles Island community

DOWNEY -- A suspected gang-related shooting left one man dead near Treasure Island Park on Monday night, leaving family members and neighbors to grieve and cry out against escalating gang violence in the secluded Northwest Downey neighborhood.Police responded to a shots fired call on the 7300 block of Cleargrove Street at about 8:22 p.m. Monday, said Downey police Sgt. Randy Wells. Officers found the victim, identified as 20-year-old Francisco Josue Iniguez, of Downey, lying on the front lawn of a home with gunshot wounds to his body and head. Iniguez was treated by paramedics and taken to the trauma unit at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood where he was pronounced dead, Wells said. According to neighbors and police, Iniguez was part of a group of young men playing soccer on the residential street when two unidentified men approached. Witnesses say the men asked Iniguez's younger brother "where he was from." When Iniguez approached to find out what was going on, an argument ensued. Iniguez was shot several times, Wells said. "They shot him execution style. He fell into his brother's arms and the gangsters ran off," said Lucy Rivero, a neighborhood resident who identified herself as a friend of the family's. The men, described as Hispanics between 20-30 years old, were last seen running into Treasure Island Park, police said. "We don't believe this to be a random act," Wells said. Wells said the neighborhood, located in a secluded area of Downey near Suva Street and across the Los Angeles River, has seen an increase in crime recently. Most of the problems stem from late-night loitering with drug use and alcohol consumption in the park, Wells said. "But it should be said that most of the activity coming into Downey is from Bell Gardens," said Wells. "It's usually not Downey residents we see out there." As residents of the neighborhood huddled Tuesday around a makeshift shrine placed by Iniguez's family and friends, neighbors lambasted city officials for allowing the crime to get out of hand. "I just saw 10 gangbangers in [Iniguez's] house and I heard they were probably going to go retaliate," said one resident who wished to stay anonymous out of fear for her safety. "And then the other gang is going to retaliate back and they're going to shoot up the neighborhood. I live here. Now I'm involved." Rivero, the family friend, helped found Unity in the Community six years ago. She said the neighborhood group has made great strides in improving the community, but problems exist, particularly at Treasure Island Park. Rivero said residents have been lobbying for security lights at the park the last five years, but have been rebuffed by city officials. "It's just ridiculous. We want action, and we want to know why we don't have lights," said Rivero, who claimed the park is often littered with needles, bottles and condoms. "There are drug sales in the park every day. Every day!

"Politicians come out here before every election and promise change. They promise to help us become a safer community. We vote for them and then they disappear. They have other priorities I guess." Councilman Roger Brossmer attended a community meeting in the neighborhood Tuesday night. He said he would include the installation of park security lights on the City Council agenda this Tuesday. "Although lights would not have prevented this tragedy from occurring, we see security lights at the park as a health and safety issue," Brossmer said. Preliminary estimates have the lights costing about $150,000, said Brossmer. Unless the city is successful in securing a grant to pay for the lights, the project will have to be paid out of the city's general fund. In the meantime, detectives are hoping for more help from the community. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call detectives at (562) 904-2332. ********** Published: March 6, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 46