Reward Offered In Ramona Gardens Firebombing

8 suspects believed involved in what may be a ‘hate crime.’

By City News Service

A $100,000 reward was announced Wednesday for information leading the perpetrators of a firebomb attack that targeted four families in the Ramona Gardens housing complex in Boyle Heights, a crime that investigators said could be racially motivated.

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a $75,000 reward for information in the May 12 firebombing, while the FBI and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives combined to offer an additional $25,000.

Councilman Jose Huizar, who introduced the reward motion that was approved 14-0 by the City Council, said the May 12 firebombing — which caused minor damage and no injuries — targeted three black families and one Latino family in the public housing complex that is “predominantly Latino.”

Authorities are still determining if the attack could be considered a hate crime, Huizar said, but “if in fact it turns out to be a hate crime,” the city “will not tolerate this type of hatred towards any racial group.”

The attack occurred at 12:35 a.m. May 12 at the complex in the 1300 block of Vanegas Lane. The flames were quickly extinguished by fire crews, and there was minimal damage.

At a news conference in downtown Los Angeles, federal and local authorities released surveillance video from the complex that showed up to eight people approaching the complex. Four Molotov cocktails are lit by the suspects and thrown into the four apartments.

While authorities suspect that they attack may have been racially motivated, they have not confirmed that suspicion.

“Based on the video captured of the incident and other evidence collected, investigators believe there are multiple suspects responsible for this event,” according to Tim Delaney, special agent in charge of the FBI’s criminal division in Los Angeles. “The identity of the persons responsible and the motive are under investigation and it would be inappropriate to speculate about the motive behind the attack.

“Certainly the possibility that this attack was racially motivated is among the working theories of the investigators,” he said.

Huizar said residents of the Ramona Gardens community are “equally disgusted by these actions, as we all are.”

“In recent years, the number of African-American families living there has risen,” he said, adding that the residents have lived in “peace and harmony for a very long time.”

“There has been some history of racial divisiveness, but for the last few years that has quieted down and lessened,” he said. “We know that this community will not tolerate this as well.”

Anyone with information was asked to call (213) 484-6700.

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June 19, 2014  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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