Two people were killed and six were wounded in a California shooting reported during a weekly softball game that for years has served to promote peace between Los Angeles-area gangs, according to authorities and reports.
More than 500 people were in Peck Park in the city’s San Pedro neighborhood afternoon to watch the softball teams play, barbecue with family and friends, and to show off and check out low-rider vehicles when chaos ensued.
Just before 4 p.m., a dispute between two people escalated into a gunfight that spilled over onto the softball diamond. A barrage of shots was fired as people scrambled for cover.
Police have offered few details about the shooting, only saying it was “gang-related” and occurred at a permitted softball game after some kind of dispute. Investigators have not yet determined how many people opened fire.
Multiple guns were discovered at the location and recovered as evidence, authorities said.
“It’s Sunday afternoon, you should be able to go and enjoy the park,” said Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Kelly Muniz, a police spokesperson.
Officials initially said there were five people wounded and taken by paramedics to the hospital, but authorities found out later that a sixth victim went to a hospital in a private vehicle.
Four women and four men were wounded and were rushed to local hospitals, where two of the male victims died, according to reports. As of late Monday, no names had been released and no arrests were made.
A local nonprofit organized the softball league about five years ago to safely bring together members of different Crips sets,
gang interventionist Skipp Townsend told The Associated Press. Sunday’s game — just weeks after the death of the league’s founder in a car wreck — was between teams from Compton.
“It broke my heart,” Townsend, who often attends the games, told The AP. “We have these type of events so we don’t have shootings.
Townsend and other community leaders were a few miles away from the park, participating in the monthly “Peace Ride” to promote solidarity in high-crime areas.
A day later, Townsend was left to wonder if the violence might have been prevented had he and the others been at the park.
He said he would have told the combatants: “You’re not going to do it here. You’re not going to ruin what we have.”