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Four people killed and one wounded in 'ambush' shooting at Inglewood house party

LA Times logo LA Times 1/23/2022 Matthew Ormseth, James Queally, Priscella Vega, Laura Newberry
Police block Hargrave Street near Park Avenue in Inglewood on Sunday after a deadly shooting at a house party. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times) © Provided by LA Times Police block Hargrave Street near Park Avenue in Inglewood on Sunday after a deadly shooting at a house party. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Four people were killed and one person was wounded early Sunday after more than 40 rounds of ammunition were fired in an "ambush" shooting at a birthday house party in Inglewood. The city's mayor called the shooting the worst act of violence in the city in years.

Firefighters and paramedics were dispatched at 1:43 a.m. to a house in the 1300 block of Park Avenue, according to a Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatcher. The house was an Airbnb short-term rental, one of the tenants said. Sources said those participating in the crime were gang-related, but officials said they didn't know a motive for the shooting and were looking for suspects.

Two of the victims who were killed, Breahna Stines and Marneysha Hamilton, were sisters. Their mother, who asked to be identified only by her first name, Tiffney, said family had gathered Saturday at the home where the shooting took place to celebrate Stines’ 20th birthday, which was Sunday. Hamilton was 25.

“They both were outgoing, beautiful girls,” the mother said, sitting beside a display of candles and two large photographs of her daughters that had been placed on the sidewalk at the crime scene. “They both had futures ahead of them, and to have it taken away,” their mother said, her voice trailing off.

She declined to discuss the shooting but said the other two victims were not members of her family and she did not know them.

During a news conference, Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. said multiple weapons were used, including one assault rifle and one handgun in what he described as an "ambush." The victims appeared to have been targeted, he added.

"This is the largest number of shooting victims that have been injured in this city since the 1990s," Butts told reporters. "When I think about this and hear a crime like this anywhere in New York, in Los Angeles, in Santa Monica, in Culver City, these are sociopathic killers that have to be sequestered from society."

Butts urged the suspects to turn themselves in. "We will find you and prosecute you," he said.

Later in the day, Butts said the attack "was not random, and it was related to the people who were expected to be at the party."

Authorities had not released the names of the victims as of Sunday night.

The street where the shooting happened is lined with one- and two-story homes, not far from Edward Vincent Jr. Park and Centinela Elementary School. It's less than two miles from the new SoFi Stadium, which will host the NFC championship game next week and the Super Bowl on Feb. 13.

Earlier Sunday, a group of about two dozen people stood along Brett Street at one end of the sprawling crime scene. In news footage, one woman appeared to collapse in another woman's arms in grief.

The home had been rented for two weeks through Airbnb by a group of tourists from Sweden, according to a man who waited outside the crime scene tape Sunday evening.

The man, who identified himself as a guest of the Airbnb but declined to give his name, said he woke early Sunday to the sound of 10 gunshots in quick succession. He did not know the people who were killed because they were not part of his group, he said.

Holding a grocery bag full of water bottles, the man said he had not been allowed back inside the home 18 hours after the shooting because the coroner was still at work.

The killings come amid a two-year rise in homicides in Los Angeles County — and other places across the country — that has been met with alarm.

The city of Los Angeles saw nearly 400 killings in 2021, marking the most homicides of any year since 2007. Young Latino and Black men continue to be overrepresented among the dead, data show.

An analysis by The Times of killings in L.A. County through the first 11 months of 2021 showed sharp increases in neighborhoods such as Watts and adjoining Florence-Firestone, which each had more than 20 killings, and in other cities in the broader L.A. region, including Compton and Long Beach, which each had more than 30.

Inglewood did not see the same increase in killings in 2021 as some neighboring areas. According to Times data, from January through November 2021, the city recorded 13 homicides, just one more than during the same period in 2020. More recent data were not immediately available.

Inglewood has been in the midst of a major revitalization in recent years, centered around SoFi Stadium. Home prices lately have soared in some parts of the city of 107,000 people, driven in part by new restaurants and businesses and the anticipated opening of the $2-billion Crenshaw light-rail line.

Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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