Arrest In Murder Of LAPD Chief's Kin

Los Angles police have arrested an 18-year-old man in the gang-related shooting death of Police Chief Bernard C. Parks' granddaughter, investigators said Thursday.

Capt. Margaret York said Samuel Shabazz Jr. was arrested Tuesday for questioning and later booked for investigation of murder. Police said he was initially picked up because he was drinking in public.

"The police officer whose detained him discovered the warrant out for questioning of this man. He then placed him under arrest," York said during a news conference.

Lori Gonzalez, 20, of Mission Viejo, was shot to death May 28 as she drove away from a Popeyes chicken restaurant in the tough Jefferson Park area.

Police have said a gunman was aiming for her passenger, who ducked. The 20-year-old friend reportedly was a gang member with a felony record who had been wounded by rivals three weeks earlier in the same area.

Parks, who made a brief statement at the news conference, returned to work this week after spending more than a week in seclusion to mourn the death of his granddaughter.

"If we unite together as a (Police) Department, city and community, we can fight this violence. Enough is enough," Parks said at the news conference in which he thanked the community for helping find the suspect, but left details of the arrest to investigators.

Gonzalez, a Saddleback College English student, was killed a week shy of her 21st birthday. She had been visiting her mother in the crime-ridden section of Los Angeles about 50 miles from Mission Viejo, where she lived with her father.

"Ít's interesting about young people," Parks said Wednesday on the CBS News Early Show. "Lori's known him since he was about 10 years old. And kids go different directions, but their view of themselves is as being immune to problems, even though their friends may be having problems."

The shooting occurred just three months after the city police's anti-gang squad was disbanded in the middle of the Ramparts police scandal.

Detective Brian Carr said, however, that gang officers never left their assignments in the department's Southwest area, where the killing occurred.

Carr said there were shootings and gang wars going on in the area and witnesses were afraid.

"It was a walk-up shooting. Mr. Shabazz walked up and fired in to the vehicle. I am certain he is the shooter," Carr said.

Shabazz has a criminal record including robbery and assault convictions, Carr said.

Witnesses identified Shabazz as the killer and warrant was issued for his arrest, police said.

Gonzalez, who worked two jobs, was a Sunday school teacher and did occasional missionary work in Tijuana, was buried Saturday by a family that always will remember her as a "sweetheart." Her grave is next to that of her aunt for whom she was named. Parks' daughter, Lori, died of cancer 25 years ago.

"She's one of those people that was not a spctator," Parks said of his eldest grandchild. "She was involved in everything. She wanted to taste life. She wanted to see things."

Parks recalls the last conversation he had with Gonzalez: "It was just by chance. I was talking to her mother and she says, 'Lori's here' and Lori got on the phone and spoke for about 20 seconds. And the last thing she said was, 'I love you.' She was gone that quickly."

The tragedy has made him recommit to principles of providing service to the community, Parks said. "We've seen tragedy in our family, in other people's families. We live in a city where there's tragedy every day."


©2000 CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report

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