Outside the sophisticated downtown L.A. Mediterranean restaurant 10-E, near 7th and Flower Streets, a memorial of candles, graffiti messages, and photos of Marco Murillo covers the sidewalk where the 13-year-old was stabbed recently during a wild melee.
“Some boys ran up to us when we were waiting for food and said ‘where you from?’ and then stabbed him,” a young woman, who only gave the first name Kaylee, told LAMag on Friday afternoon as she lit a saint candle, one of the dozens flickering on the corner where her friend was killed.
On Jan. 5, LAPD transit officers pushed through a swell of teens to break up the ensuing fighting to find Marco felled by a knife. At that point, a private security guard for 10-E attempted desperately to save the boy’s life. Marco was rushed to an area hospital, where he died on Jan. 6; he’d been stabbed in the abdomen, the LAPD said, adding that officers had detained a person of interest in the attack at the scene—until another unidentified individual began swinging a skateboard at the officers, which gave the suspect a chance to free himself and flee.
“He didn’t do anything,” said another friend, 16-year-old Shawn Wright, at the memorial among other teenage mourners who scribbled messages to the dead boy on the wall. “They just jumped him.”
Marco’s killing is one case in what is an ongoing trend of violent crimes in DTLA—part of embattled City Councilmember Kevin de Leon’s District 14. In the first 13 days of 2023 alone, the downtown zip code of 90017—the city’s economic and cultural hub, known as the Historic District—has seen nearly a dozen reported incidents of assault with a deadly weapon; 10 armed robberies where “force or fear” was used against victims; one incident where shots were fired at a passing car; and three reports of people brandishing weapons in the street.
In November, a Target security guard shot and killed a man who burst into the store at 7th & Fig and stabbed a woman and her child, leaving the mother in critical condition.
Mere feet from the scene of the attack, and the memorial that will sit there for several days, there’s a bustling scene inside 10-E. Patrons don business attire as they sit under a cascade of chandeliers hanging from the art deco-adorned ceilings of the eatery located in the historic Fine Arts Building.
Ultimately, Marco’s tragic death is one of the nearly daily instances of violence in DTLA, which now offers a juxtaposition of unhoused Angelenos, some of whom are struggling with untreated mental health issues, with those who occupy its glass-walled luxury buildings, enjoying rooftop pools and room service.
Neighborhood Tracker, a website that monitors crime trends, calls downtown the most dangerous place in all of L.A. “Downtown is now ranked 1 in terms of crime rate in the Los Angeles areas that we cover, the same as last month,” the site wrote this week.
Even de Leon himself was involved in a violent altercation when in late December; fists flew at a City Hall Christmas party taking place downtown when an activist confronted the councilman about the incendiary leaked audio that thrust City Council into a crisis. This week, the councilman addressed his colleagues at City Hall, calling himself “a fighter for the most marginalized people in society.”
That, his spokesman Pete Brown told LAMag, includes the residents of downtown L.A. Brown said before de Leon’s political life was thrust into uncertainty, he had earmarked $2.5 million specifically “for foot beats and additional patrols” by police.
“It’s horrifying and disturbing that a 13-year-old had been killed,” Brown said. “The councilman met with the captain in the district to discuss it, and it remains a priority to increase the safety in downtown L.A.”
The suspect in Murillo’s murder is described by the LAPD as a male, white or Hispanic, between 14 to 17 years of age, and of medium height and build.”
Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to call Detective Gonzales, Los Angeles Police Department, Central Bureau Homicide, at (213)-996-4142.
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