LAist is reporting that a bike rider was shot and killed in South L.A. yesterday.
Thirty-year old Darnell Charles was riding near the intersection of Menlo Avenue and Imperial Highway around 3:20 pm Wednesday when a car pulled up next to him. After exchanging words, the driver pulled out a gun and fired before speeding off.
No word on exactly what street Charles was on, or what was said. It’s possible it was a road rage case; however, it’s more likely that the shooting was gang related or that the driver and victim knew one another.
The fact that police know words were exchanged suggests that there may have been at least one witness to the shooting.
He was the first bike rider to be fatally shot in Southern California this year; it’s highly unlikely that he’ll be the last.
Update: The Daily Breeze adds more details to the story, identifying Charles as a former star football player for Leuzinger High School.
According to the paper, the gunman got out of his vehicle and walked up to Charles before shooting him multiple times in the upper body, then fleeing in his car. Charles was transported to a hospital where he died at 4:50 pm.
The victim, who worked as a security guard, leaves behind a son. Police confirm that they suspect the attack was gang related.
That does not necessarily mean Charles was a gang member, however; it suggests that the shooter is suspected of having gang affiliations, whether or not his victim did.
As I note in the comments below, the overwhelming majority of fatal shootings involving cyclists are gang related. Of the 17 SoCal shooting deaths since the beginning of 2011, gang involvement was confirmed or suspected in all but two.
Until we as a society decide it’s time to put a stop gun and gang violence, people will continue to fall victim to bullets on our streets.
Some of them will be on bikes.
The rider, who has not been publicly identified, was struck by a vehicle driven by a 17-year old motorist around 5:30 pm Wednesday at the intersection of Fairview and Waterford Drives. Again, no information on how the collision may have occurred.
News stories note that the victim was not wearing a helmet; however, they don’t say whether he suffered head injuries, or if a helmet might have made any difference.
Anyone with information is urged to call Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Traffic Detective Travis Kelly at 661/255-1121.