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Juan Valenti Aguilar, 28

Juan Aguilar, a 28-year-old Latino, was  killed Sunday, Nov. 22, after he was shot in Ruben F. Salazar Park in the 3860 block of Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records. 

Aguilar, of East Los Angeles, and his brother, Antonio Aguilar, 33, of Palmdale, were in the park about 11 a.m., standing between the basketball courts and tennis courts, when they were approached by three people described as a heavyset adult Latino, a heavyset adult Latina and a Latino teenager, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Eddie Hernandez. 

The three engaged the brothers "in what's being described as a casual conversation — brief, with no yelling," Hernandez said, "when the adult male produces a handgun and fires multiple times at both victims." 

Antonio Aguilar was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:31 a.m., according to coroner's records. Juan Aguilar was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead at 12:02 p.m.

The park was full of people that morning, Hernandez said, and investigators talked to more than 50 people trying to determine who had witnessed the incident. 

Witnesses told investigators that the three attackers ran east to a parking lot near Ditman Avenue after the shooting, Hernandez said. They allegedly got into two cars, a dark-colored SUV and a two-door dark-colored sedan, and were last seen driving south on Ditman, he said. 

Juan Aguilar is a member of the gang that frequents Salazar Park, Hernandez said, but investigators don't know whether the shooting was gang-related. They suspect the brothers were targeted, he said, but don't know if the victims knew the attackers, or if they were from a rival gang.

"It would be difficult, but not impossible, for rival gang members to drive up, exit their vehicles and walk up to someone in the middle of that park without being accosted by [local] gang members," Hernandez said. "So based on that, we believe they may have been targeted and maybe knew those people."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477. 

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter. 

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