A 17-year-old boy shot near a youth park between the Wyvernwood and Estrada Courts housing developments was the fourth homicide reported last month in Boyle Heights.

The four May killings –all leaving male victims under the age of 30– followed two months without a single homicide reported in the neighborhood. Three of the homicides happened in the vicinity of the Wyvernwood Garden Apartments, the neighborhood’s oldest and largest housing development, but it’s unclear if they are related incidents.

Police said the boy was shot and killed in Boyle Heights on May 29, at approximately 2:26 a.m., near the corner of Olympic Boulevard and S. Grande Vista Ave. The location is near the Lou Costello Jr. Recreation Center, a small park between the two housing projects. Police could not say if the killing was gang-related.

According to public information officer William Cooper of the Los Angeles Police Department, Hollenbeck officers received a call of a man down from an ambulance in the early morning. “Upon further investigation officers discovered a victim who was male Hispanic, 20-30 years of age, with a gunshot wound,” Cooper said.

According to Cooper, Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics arrived and pronounced the victim deceased on the scene.

The victim was later identified by the Coroner’s office as 17-year-old Marvin Romero-Romero. The coroner said the place of death was a park.

Earlier shootings

On May 21, a man was standing at the intersection near Orme Ave and E 8th Street, near Wyvernwood, when a male suspect fired multiple gunshot which struck and killed him.

According to Cooper, “the suspect fled southbound on Orme Ave and the victim was pronounced deceased on the scene by LAFD.” Cooper added that this incident is believed to be gang related but there are no further details or suspect description.

A homicide victim that died on a sidewalk on May 21 was identified by the Coroner’s office as 27-year-old Gerardo Núñez. LAPD could not say if that’s the Boyle Heights victim.

Two other shooting homicides occurred on May 9 within three hours of each other, though only one was confirmed by LAPD.

The first shooting occurred at approximately 8:36 p.m. on the 3000 block of Wabash Ave. According to Cooper, officers responded to a call of an assault with a deadly weapon shooting where officers located two male Hispanic victims 25-30 years of age.

“The victims were transmitted by Los Angeles Fire Department to a local area hospital where the first victim was pronounced deceased and the second victim was announced in stable condition,” Cooper said. He added that it is unknown if the incident was gang related.

The coroner identified the deceased as 21-year-old Roberto Rodríguez, according to the Los Angeles Times Homicide Report.

Three hours later, at approximately 11:30 p.m., another shooting occurred on the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Rio Vista Street – a few blocks West of Wyvernwood.

While officer Cooper could not verify that second shooting, the incident was reported on Crimemapping.com, which culls data from LAPD public records. The Los Angeles Times Homicide report also listed the killing; it identified the victim as 25-year-old Alfredo Mejía Reyes Jr. and said he died on May 10.

Nine homicides in 2021

The four shooting deaths reported in May elevated to nine the total of homicides for 2021 in Boyle Heights.

The latest four incidents mirror the number of homicides from January, when four shootings took place. There was a single homicide in February and none reported in March or April.

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Albert Serna Jr.

Albert Serna Jr. is a queer Chicano journalist from the San Gabriel Valley. He has a passion for news, politics, and investigative reporting. On his free time he reads about true crime and does drag.

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