Rickie Cornell Starks, 65
Rickie Cornell Starks, a 65-year-old black man, was fatally shot on Wednesday, July 3, near the corner of Spruce Street and Aranbe Avenue in Compton, according to Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner records.
Investigators believe Starks was riding his bicycle when he was struck by gunfire during a shootout between Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies and a black Cadillac Escalade around 11 p.m., said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Derrick Alfred.
Deputies didn't find Starks' body until they went to secure evidence at the shooting scene, which was littered with spent bullets, Alfred said.
Starks was found lying in the street near his bicycle and was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:25 p.m., according to coroner's records.
One deputy was injured and a patrol car disabled by the intermittent gunfire between Compton and Inglewood, where at least four suspects jumped from the Escalade outside an apartment complex at North Ash Avenue and West Queen Street and ran away.
Deputies arrested one man they believe fled from the Escalade: James Earl Harris, 28, of Lakewood. Harris, who is black, listed his occupation as an "unload worker," according to his arrest sheet. He is being held without bail on suspicion of murder, Alfred said.
Investigators seized the Escalade, but did not find any weapons inside, Alfred said. The windows of the SUV were all outfitted with bullet-proof glass, he said.
At least 40 to 50 rounds were exchanged by deputies and the suspects over the 12-plus-mile route, Alfred said, with at least 16 of those rounds coming from the suspect's assault rifle.
Alfred refused to comment on reports that the Escalade is registered to Keenon Jackson, a Compton-based rapper known as YG.
Jackson denied he was involved in a tweet on Friday, July 5, at 1:13 p.m. "I was nowhere near the scene of this incident," said the message on his Stay Dangerous account. "I was in Hollywood recording in the studio all day. I was there until after midnight on the 4th of July and didn't learn of these events until after they happened!"
Starks, the shooting victim, lived in Compton with his brother, near the spot where he died, Alfred said. Investigators believe he was biking to a nearby market when he was shot.
The pursuit began in a residential area of Compton around 11 p.m. when two deputies tried to pull over a black Cadillac Escalade for reckless driving near the corner of North Acacia Avenue and West Elm Street, Alfred said.
Instead of stopping, the Escalade sped north on Acacia to Rosecrans Avenue, then west to Oleander Avenue, and then south to Spruce, where it headed west, Alfred said.
Someone inside the Escalade began firing at pursuing deputies as the SUV turned off Oleander onto Spruce, Alfred said, and continued shooting on Spruce, a residential area where the deputies returned fire from their moving vehicle.
As the Escalade turned north off Spruce onto Aranbe, in front of Dickison Elementary School, someone in the Escalade "let loose a lot of rounds" again, striking the patrol car multiple times, Alfred said.
That's the area where Starks was shot. Alfred said it does not appear the deputies fired their weapons at that time, but it's not known if Starks was shot before the pursuit or got caught in the gunfire.
The first unit stopped its pursuit at 130th Street and Wilmington Avenue, Alfred said, because of damage to their car and injuries to one of the deputies, whose hand and shoulder had been grazed by bullets.
"Fortunately, those injuries were superficial," Alfred said, and the deputy was treated at a nearby hospital and released.
A second patrol car with two deputies took up the chase after checking on the condition of their fellow officers, Alfred said. They temporarily lost the Escalade until they realized it was coming toward them on 119th Street, near the corner of Wilmington Avenue.
"So now the suspect vehicle was driving toward the deputies, heading west, and the deputies could see the rear window was down and a rifle barrel was protruding from the window," Alfred said. "They were sitting ducks so they bailed out of the [patrol] car to take cover behind some parked cars, and another deputy-involved shooting took place."
The Escalade turned north on Wilmington, Alfred said. The patrol deputies couldn't find it by the time they got back in their car, but by then the sheriff's helicopter was tracking the Escalade, which sped away to the 105 Freeway, heading west.
The helicopter followed the SUV all the way to Inglewood, Alfred said, "and at some point [the pilot] advised they were shooting at the helicopter."
Investigators initially thought the gunfire struck the rotor, Alfred said, but it now appears there were no bullet strikes on the helicopter.
The helicopter followed the Escalade to the apartment complex at North Ash Avenue and West Queen Street in Inglewood and instructed deputies how to follow one of the suspects, who was arrested, Alfred said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.