The City Council approved a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of two apparent gang members wanted for the Jan. 3 shooting death of an 18-year-old LAPD police explorer recruit in West Los Angeles.
David Morales was walking north on Sawtelle Boulevard near Pearl Street with a friend when they were approached about 7:30 p.m. by two Hispanic males believed to be between 16 and 20 years old, police said. The suspects asked Morales and his friend what gang they were from and then fired numerous shots, according to Los Angeles Police Department Detective Rolando Rodriguez Jr. Neither Morales nor his friend, who survived the shooting, was affiliated with a gang, according to investigators.
The Sawtelle 13 gang operates in the area where the shooting occurred. Rival Santa Monica 13 and 18th Street gangs occasionally challenge the Sawtelle gang, Rodriguez said.
Morales was a lifelong resident of West L.A., was well-liked by neighbors and had recently graduated from University High School. Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who introduced the reward motion, said he hoped the reward would raise awareness of the "senseless crime" and generate leads. Rosendahl is also planning to hold a news conference with Morales' mother near the crime scene in August.
Anyone with information that might help detectives solve the case was urged to call Rodriguez at (213) 382-9472 or Detective Dave Vinton at (213) 382- 9476.