Authorities Wednesday sought a person of interest in the fatal shooting of a 4-year-old boy and wounding of a 27-year-old man in Altadena.
The person of interest had gotten into a heated alcohol-fueled argument in the street with the live-in boyfriend of the mother of the slain boy an hour or two before the shooting, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detective said.
The boyfriend and his brother were the shooter’s intended targets, sheriff’s Lt. John Corina said.
“It’s never easy when you see a child lose his life and it’s never easy for anybody and of course he’s not the intended target, not the intended victim in this,” Corina said. “You know a bullet has no name so it just ends up striking a child who just happened to be on the porch.”
Both victims were visiting the home and several other young children were asleep inside when the gunfire broke out, Corina said.
The gunman walked up to a home in the 300 block of Figueroa Drive, just east of the Foothill (210) Freeway, at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and fired at least 13 rounds, striking the victims as they sat on the home’s porch, according to the sheriff’s department.
Both were taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, where the boy, identified as Salvador Esparza III, was pronounced dead, said coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter.
The man — who deputies described as a family friend not related to the child — remained hospitalized with injuries that are not life-threatening, Deputy Trina Schrader said.
The gunman, who Corina said is possibly a gang member who lives in the neighborhood, got into a dark or black car and fled the scene. The attack was initially described as a drive-by shooting but investigators later determined the gunman walked toward the victims from the direction of Olive Avenue.
A detailed description of the suspect has not been made available.
Anyone with information about the shooting was urged to contact the sheriff’s department at (323) 890-5500 or, anonymously, Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.
—Staff and wire reports