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Crowd gathers to discuss Pasadena shooting

Residents call for more police patrols on troubled street where man was gunned down.

August 26, 2011|By Ana Facio-Krajcer, ana.facio-krajcer@latimes.com

More than 100 residents turned out Thursday night to hear Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez and others answer questions about the shooting death of an 18-year-old man on North Mar Vista Avenue on Monday.

Marvin Laguan was shot after 10 p.m. Monday night in the 400 block of North Mar Vista, just north of the Foothill (210) Freeway. Paramedics transported Laguan to Huntington Memorial Hospital, where he died of his injuries.

Two black men were seen fleeing the shooting scene, according to police. Both were described as being in their early 20s and wearing dark clothing.

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Laguan, a former Pasadena resident who police say had ties to street gangs, was the third homicide victim in the city this year. Pasadena saw three homicides in all of 2010, according to Police Lt. Tracey Ibarra.

At the meeting, Sanchez said police are still looking for suspects and asked residents of the neighborhood for help. “If you are uncomfortable calling police, contact (City Councilman Victor Gordo’s office) with any information, no matter how innocuous,” Sanchez said.

Gordo, who represents the district where the shooting occurred, organized the meeting at the Pasadena Job Center.

Pasadena resident Juan Lopez said he lives 100 feet from the location where the shooting occurred. He attended the meeting because he wanted officials to know he's tired of drug dealing on his street. “Gangsters just don't have respect for the people that live here,” Lopez said. “This is just too much. We need the police to patrol our street more often. We want police to help us.”

Gordo said the number of apartment buildings in the high-density area can make it a magnet for problems.

After the shooting, Laguan’s friend and coworker Neal Gutierrez said Laguan had recently moved from Pasadena to Alhambra, and was the father of a toddler. Both Gutierrez and Laguan worked at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization that provides job training for former gang members.

Gutierrez, 36, said Laguan started working at the Homeboy bakery about six months ago. 

“The thing with Marvin was that he was struggling,” Gutierrez said, referring to Laguan's efforts to get out of the gang life. “He’s one of those kids that need attention. If they don’t get attention, they stray away. I told him, ‘You can’t have one foot in and one foot out. You can’t be making that dance.’”

Gutierrez said Laguan came from a loving family that emigrated from El Salvador. Unlike many gang members, Laguan only had one tattoo — of his young son.

“Things were looking up for him,” Gutierrez said. “He had just bought a car. He was back in his son’s life. He was here only for a short time, but in that short time he made an impact here.”

Gutierrez said as far as he could tell, Laguan was not an active gang member.

Sanchez also encouraged hesitant witnesses to use an anonymous tip line at Crime Stoppers. Witnesses can leave anonymous tips by calling (800) 222-TIPS (8477), texting 274637 or visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.

“We just want the information to solve this,” Sanchez said.

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