A story for every victim

Laura Sanchez, 34

Laura Sanchez, 34, a Latina woman, was shot at 4514 Long Beach Ave. E. in LAPD's Newton Division south of downtown Los Angeles and died at 10:52 p.m. March 18. Latino men or youths drove by her parked car and shot her, police said. She was a mother of five, killed in front of her 17-year-old son.(Click here for full article.)

Update: This case has been cleared. Four black suspects were arrested and charged.

Dispatch [Originally published March 19, 2007]

Makeshift shrine to Laura Sanchez"Can't you make this come out on the front page of the newspaper instead of the war?" Laura Sanchez's nephew asked. "We have a war here."

Sanchez, 34, a Latina woman, was shot and killed in the 4500 block of Long Beach Boulevard in LAPD's Newton Division just south of downtown L.A. at 10:10 p.m. Sunday, March 18. Latino men or youths drove by her parked car and shot her, police said. She was a mother of five, killed in front of her 17-year-old son.

Her nephew spoke the morning after Sanchez was killed by gunfire while parking her car at the curb.

Family members were setting up a shrine as he spoke. Sanchez was the mother of five children, ages 5 to 19. The family offered pictures, not just of Sanchez, but also of her children. "She was a very devoted mother," said her sister-in-law, Adela Barajas. "Her house was the family hangout. We'd come over, and she'd cook."

Sanchez was on her way from a waltzing class that her daughter and friends were taking in preparation for the daughter's upcoming quinceanera. Her 17-year-old son was in the car.

When they parked at the curb, some men or youths drove by. They spotted the 17-year-old son, then fired, striking Sanchez. She died later at a hospital. The son was not hit. He was not a gang member, and police don't think the attackers knew him.

Barajas, the sister-and-law, explains how she told the rest of Sanchez's children the news. The 5-year-old had difficulty understanding; she explained that Sanchez had to leave to take care of a late grandparent. Barajas said wants to speak out publicly in protest, then began to cry. "I know I have to say something, but it's hard," she said. Anyone with information is asked to call Newton Division homicide detectives at (323) 846-6556.

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