A story for every victim

The numbers behind L.A. County homicides in 2014

The 551 homicides in Los Angeles County in 2014 were overwhelmingly male and overwhelmingly the victims of gunfire.

The first victim last year got into a fight with family members on New Year's Day in Culver City. Trinidad Gonzalez Sanchez was 51 when he died Jan. 2 in a hospital.

Sanchez died of blunt-force injury to the abdomen, and the record of his death became a part of The Times' Homicide Report, a database and blog that chronicles each killing in the county using publicly available information from the coroner and law enforcement agencies. Since 2007, the Homicide Report has told the stories of the people who become homicide victims in the nation's most populous county.

In 2014, The Times recorded 551 homicides in the county, the lowest in the database, which dates to 2000.

The data we present are more than raw numbers: The L.A. Times homicide rankings take into account the number of killings in each neighborhood per 10,000 people and per square mile.

But the numbers often need interpretation. Rancho Dominguez, a neighborhood south of Compton and east of Carson, saw the highest number of per-capita homicides in 2014, at 7.7 per 10,000. But that doesn't tell the whole story: Two people were killed in Rancho Dominguez in 2014, which has only 2,597 residents, according to 2010 U.S. census data. Vermont Knolls, a dense neighborhood in South Los Angeles with a population of 21,752, had the highest rate of homicides per square mile: 10.5.

The two most populous neighborhoods that have never had a homicide in the database are Palos Verdes Estates in the South Bay and San Marino in the San Gabriel Valley.

Like the first homicide of the year, the final killing of 2014, on Dec. 31, also stemmed from a dispute.

In Manchester Square, a neighborhood that borders the 110 Freeway on the east, three men were found in an apartment with gunshot wounds about 7:15 p.m. Larry Londell Dunn, 49, was pronounced dead at the scene. A 58-year-old man was also shot but was expected to survive. The third wounded man, 33-year-old Tyrone Bell, was later charged with one count of murder and one count of attempted murder, according to the L.A. County district attorney's office. Police said Bell shot the other two men, then another person in the apartment shot Bell in self-defense.

What follows are key 2014 statistics from the database.

551: Los Angeles County 2014 total homicides

37: Officer-involved deaths

478: Male victims

73: Female victims

89: Days without a homicide anywhere in the county

Sunday, Nov. 9: The deadliest day of the year; seven men were shot to death

July: The month with the most days, 11, without a homicide


Ages

49: Victims under 18

Erick Dean Edwards, 9, and Alona Marie Edwards, 5, were killed Dec. 8 when their father, Alan Dean Edwards, 46, deliberately crashed his Honda Accord into a parked big rig on the 5 Freeway in Castaic. The father, who also died in the crash, was involved in a custody dispute with the mother of the children.

20: Victims over 65

Luis Fernando Aguiar, 91, was the oldest man killed. He was one of three people shot to death during a shooting rampage July 12 in Pasadena. Aguiar's daughter, plus a man who tried to help the wounded, were also shot during the attack.

31: Median age

Andrew Ruben Fierro, 31, was killed Aug. 22 in East Los Angeles. Fierro, a father and husband, had just returned from the grocery store and was picking his children up from a relative's home when he was shot. “He always had a huge smile and was kind of like a big teddy bear,” his wife, Katherine Fierro, wrote in a comment on the Homicide Report. “I don't know how I'm supposed to go on without him.”

28: Most common age (mode)

Rhasson Hamilton, 28, was shot and killed Oct. 4 in Manchester Square as he walked to his car to grab some clothes. That night, the aspiring DJ was spending time with family for his cousin's birthday. “He was not in a gang. He was just living his life,” his cousin said.


Causes of death

73.1%: Killed by gunshot

11.2%: Killed by stabbing

7.6%: Killed by blunt-force trauma

1.1%: Killed by strangulation

The remaining 7% of homicides are classified as “other” and include cases that were classified incorrectly, difficult to classify or unknown — and one bow-and-arrow killing (Charles Briggs, 27, who was slain in Lancaster on Aug. 23).


Victims' races

45.4%: Latino

37.7%: black

13.6%: white

3.3%: Asian


Neighborhoods with the highest total number of homicides

28: Compton (2.9 per 10,000 residents; 2.7 per square mile)

26: Long Beach (0.6 per 10,000; 0.5 per square mile)

19: Inglewood (1.7 per 10,000; 2.1 per square mile)

17: East Los Angeles (1.3 per 10,000; 2.3 per square mile)

15: Pomona (1.0 per 10,000 residents; 0.6 per square mile)

-- Armand Emamdjomeh and Nicole Santa Cruz

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