More Than a Dozen People Were Killed During a Deadly July 4 Weekend in L.A.

Two car-to-car shootings were among a spate of crimes over the long holiday weekend

Between Friday and Monday, the Los Angeles Police Department recorded 12 murders and the Sheriff’s Department another four, while across the country at least 180 people were reported killed in shootings alone over one of the most violent Independence Day holidays in recent memory.

Ty Bray, an 18-year-old who graduated from Venice High School this year, was shot to death around 2:30 a.m. on Monday morning in his 1979 Cadillac while being chased by another car through several blocks near Bray’s home in Venice. Police say that multiple rounds were fired from the pursuing vehicle before Bray flipped his car into the yard of a house on Rose Avenue, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Bray’s mother, Kena Evans, heard the gunshots and immediately called Bray’s phone.

“The [passenger] was the one who answered the phone,” Evans told the Times. “She didn’t know where she was.”

Bray was pronounced dead at the scene and the passenger was taken to the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds.

According to police, at least two other people were murdered in L.A. on Monday before noon.

On Saturday afternoon, Luis Mendoza, 35, was shot and killed in his Chevy Avalanche while driving on the 60 freeway to a Fourth of July party. Witnesses told the California Highway Patrol that a passenger in a gray compact had fired into Mendoza’s truck. Two of his sons were injured in the ensuing crash.

Mendoza’s friend, Jovane Rodriguez, described him as “very down to earth,” telling CBS L.A., “He was always there for us. Anything we needed, [Luis] was the guy to turn to.”

Just after midnight on Sunday, the body of 53-year-old Fatima Johnson was discovered by her daughters in her home on the 7600 block of S. Western Avenue in South L.A. after she didn’t show up for work or respond to text messages. Johnson’s hands had been bound and her body rolled in a blanket, relatives told ABC 7, adding that her silver Lexus, jewelry, and cell phone had been stolen.

Police say Johnson’s boyfriend is a person of interest in the crime, but would not confirm that any items were stolen.

“The scene that my sisters and I…witnessed first-hand and what happened to my mother is something that no child should ever see of their parent,” Johnson’s daughter, Tyesha Harvey, told the station.

Police could not immediately determine whether this weekend’s murder toll was higher than previous holidays, but as of June 26 shootings in L.A. were up 50 percent over the same time last year, with murders up by about 25 percent. Across the state, killings surged 31 percent in 2020. Law enforcement says these numbers still don’t match the height of violence seen here in the 1990s.

Nationwide, at least 189 people were shot do death over the weekend, with another 516 wounded by gunfire, according to the Gun Violence Archive. On Monday, the research group had reported at least 140 firearm deaths—including 18 mass shootings in which four or more people were shot—but updated the tally on Tuesday morning.

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. news, food, and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.