Update: Bike rider fatally shot in South L.A.; 15-year Santa Clarita rider critically injured in Wednesday collision

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.


In other news, a 15-year bike rider suffered life-threatening injuries in a collision with an SUV in Santa Clarita yesterday.

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.


  1. Opus the Poet says:

    OK I get perturbed at articles that mention the driver of a 2+ton vehicle was unhurt after colliding with a vehicle that might gross out at 200 pounds or 0.1 tons… I also left comments saying as much on the linked articles…

  2. Allan says:

    Why don’t we just declare that all shootings are “gang related” if they happen outside of Santa Monica? Let’s stop beating around the bush here!

    • bikinginla says:

      When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.

      The overwhelming majority of shootings involving cyclists are gang related. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the world we live in right now.

      Of the 16 fatal shootings of bike riders in the last two years, fourteen were either confirmed or suspected of gang involvement; one was the result of a personal dispute and the other was a random attack.

      I’m not saying this was a gang shooting; as I said, based on the limited description, it could also be the result of a personal dispute or, less likely, a road rage incident.

      And yes, they do have gang shootings in Santa Monica, too.

      • Allan says:

        I hear hoofbeats and I think of the devil, not zebras!

        And there’s no gang activity in Dreamy Dreamy Land, who you trying to kid? I wasn’t born yesterday you know. All it takes is two blacks and a gun and it’s instantly “gang related” right? Anything more and it just confirms the “suspicions”. Is there even two blacks in DDL?

        I’m not sure what would be confirmed if I’m ever “caught” riding home through Compton, but I’ll assure you I’m in no gang!

        Note: there has been some guys perpetrating some gang activity in SM, but I’ll let you be the judge.

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