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Saturday, 7 February 2009

One man dead and six wounded bandana-wearing gunmen were targeting a specific person at The Coffee House in San Gabriel

Police on Friday searched for two gunmen who killed one man and wounded six others when they opened fire on a table full of people at a crowded coffee shop in an attack believed to be gang-related.Sheriff Lee Baca said it appeared the bandana-wearing gunmen were targeting a specific person late Thursday at the cafe in San Gabriel, about 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles."The manner in which it was done suggests it was a payback situation or a revenge situation," Baca said. "They had a specific person they were trying to shoot."Deputies said the attackers walked in through the front door of the Coffee House and began firing handguns. Saying nothing, they initially targeted a table next to the entrance where people were playing cards.Both suspects fired several shots toward the table then turned the guns deeper into the cafe, sheriff's homicide Lt. Pat Nelson said. The attack lasted only a few seconds before the two shooters fled on foot."We believe it probably is a gang-related case," Nelson said. "There is a recognized gang presence at that particular location."Five of those wounded were taken to area hospitals; three were listed in critical condition but Nelson said all were expected to survive. A sixth person suffered a grazing wound and refused treatment.The identity of the slain victim was not immediately released.The cafe was crowded with at least 40 people when the attack occurred late Thursday, but deputies were having a hard time finding witnesses."We know people saw something," sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said. "And we need them to come forward and help us solve this crime."San Gabriel police Sgt. Jeff Whitney said several gangs operate in the city, though he did not know which one might have been involved in the shooting.The Coffee House is located in a strip mall along busy Valley Boulevard. A Chinese bakery, foot massage parlor and Vietnamese restaurant are nearby.Four people who appeared to work at the cafe declined to speak to a reporter as they mopped up pools of blood and swept away blood-soaked playing cards and glass from a smashed table top.Signs of the killing were gone by midday, and the cafe was open, serving coffee and other hot drinks to about 10 men.Owners and customers at surrounding businesses were reluctant to discuss the incident. Most said they did not speak English.One person, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, said the shop was a popular nighttime hangout for young people, and police had been called there in the past to break up fights.The shop's surveillance cameras were not working properly and did not record the attack, San Gabriel police Sgt. Rene Hernandez said.Responding officers who received a panic alarm call from the shop were flagged down by several people who had been shot, he said.


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