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Shots fired! Ninjas take cover.

OK.  We had a gang killing at the end of our training last night.  We were just about to bow out, all of us sitting in seiza (except Harry who doesn't do seiza), ...  POP. POP. Pop pop pop POP!

At least six shots. We saw the muzzle flash, smelled the gun smoke.

I took cover.  In my mind, I thought, "gunfire, take cover." But the process was way slower than the thought.  When I found cover, another man was crouched behind the concrete trash barrel.  He said, "fireworks?" I said "No, gunshots. Large caliber."

When I looked back over the concrete table, I see the young asian soccer players all scattered on the ground ( they were closer than we).  I think of the young faces of the men and women who play in that game every week.

I yell at my training group to take cover.

The cops arrive quickly- one apparently was patrolling nearby.  Some officers charge into the park on foot, some drive in.  They see us.

They approach quickly, weapons drawn, one with a shotgun.  I hear one say "We've got some gang bangers!"

I put my hands in the air.  I say loudly, "No, I teach here.  I teach a martial arts class here."  I wave one hand to point, "The shots were over there."

They come within 15 feet of me and get the message.  They turn to continue their sweep of the park.

When I turn to look at my students they are all on their knees, hands in the air like me.  Lucky us.  It would suck to get gunned down by the PD for putting away training gear in your gym bag.

We have a short discussion about moving our training location, then I leave.

There are approximately TWO homicides in Santa Monica every year.  We were training in a park that has a PAL (police activities league) facility and has nearly constant police presence.

The rumor I hear today is this killing was a retaliation for one that occurred recently in another gang's territory. 

Interesting and sad dose of reality for last night's training.

Here is the news report:
 KTLA story
Man Shot to Death near Park in Santa Monica
Man Shot to Death near Park in Santa Monica
SANTA MONICA -- Police are following up on leads after a man in his 20s was found shot to death near a park in Santa Monica.

Several gunshots were heard around 8:52 p.m. Tuesday by a police officer on patrol in the area 21st Street and Pico Boulevard, said Santa Monica Police Lt. Mohamed Marhaba.

The officer saw two possible suspects run south across Pico into the immediate neighborhood, Marhaba said.

A Hispanic man in his 20s was found dead near Virginia Avenue park, in the area of 22nd Street and Virginia Avenue, according to investigators. His name has not been released.

One person has been arrested, however, police say the investigation is on-going. "We don't know if the person is the shooter or not. We don't want people to think an arrest has been made and our investigation is closed," said Sgt. Renaldi Thruston of the Santa Monica Police Department.

Anyone with information in the shooting is asked to contact police at (310) 458-8495.


  1. The 20 year old who was killed last night was taking an art class at the college - he was not a "gang banger"

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  3. Yes, unfortunately Richard Juarez was coldly shot down. I never implied HE was a gang banger. But it is likely the shooter was.

  4. WOW, to read your blog just brought me to tears. Richard Juarez is my dear friends son, she is so distraught at this moment. I knew this young man since he was a young boy. He will be dearly missed.

  5. Richie is my cousin and I you should NOT assume he was a gang banger. He was a good kid and you can't imagine what this has done to my family. Everytime I read these reports I can't catch my breath, and we will never be the same after this. I have a lot of questions I need answers to because I am going to pursue this until the day I die. He was only hit once? Who determined he was dead? Did an ambulence even come? Was the police's priority to run after the assailants rather than to check to see if my cousin may have still been alive?

  6. This is just so sad. The fact that the yound man was just an innocnet bystander makes it twice as bad, if you can guage such a thing.

  7. I was there, and the police arrived quickly. They assessed the danger quickly and very efficiently searched a large park.

    The ambulance also arrived quickly.

    I didn't know Richard, but I have been sad since this happened. It could have been any of us in the park that night.

    I have been training in that park for years, and there are always families and children around. Many people use the park for sports and fitness, to walk their dogs, have picnics etc.

    Any of us could have beeen shot. One of us was. A shooting like this is an attack on us all.

  8. WOW..this is too much!

    Better thoughts and prayers goes out to the family .

    "Children Live what they Learn"

  9. After speaking to a SM Police Officer he explained that the shooter was from Venice Shoreline Crips and that he had shot and killed someone within his own gang but blamed it on the Santa Monica Gangmembers.

    From there the "crip" and three other friends jumped in a car, headed to Santa Monica and shot & killed an innocent boy.

    All four "suspects" were caught and are in jail awaiting trial.



  11. Sad. Sometimes the little choices we make add up to BIG mistakes.


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