Man Arrested Days After 2 Westside Shooting Incidents Leave 1 Dead, Several Injured

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Many officers responded to multiple shooting scenes in Palms on April 16, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)

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A 35-year-old man was arrested for allegedly killing one man and attempting to kill several others during one or more shooting incidents in the Palms area days earlier, police said Saturday.

James Pickens, of Inglewood, was arrested just before midnight Friday, the Los Angeles Police Department stated in a news release.

His arrest came days after Thursday’s shooting incidents that left four people hospitalized, and one man dead – later identified by the LAPD as 27-year-old Justin Aguilar.

One of the victims was hospitalized in critical condition and the other three were listed in stable condition, police reported the day of the shootings.

The shootings began at Woodbine Park around 3 p.m. Thursday, where a gunman opened fire, killing Aguilar and injuring another.

Witnesses reported hearing seven or eight shots fired, and one of the victims crying out, asking why the gunman was shooting.

“I heard one of the victims that was shot — and he had blood all over his head,” witness Zach Myers said. “He said, ‘Why is he shooting at us? Why is he shooting at us?’”

A third victim was found about a block away from the park, in the 3300 block of Motor Avenue at Vinton Avenue. Police said Thursday they believed that individual was a victim of the shooting at the park who had run away from the scene.

About 20 minutes later, gunfire broke out at a crowded parking lot near National Boulevard and Overland Avenue, LAPD stated.

Two men drove into the parking lot and opened fire on two other men as they walked out of a 7-Eleven, witness Rafael Rocha said.

“There was no arguing, no fighting, they just let loose,” Rocha said. “It was total chaos. Everybody was screaming, yelling, bullets were flying everywhere.”

The two men in the car sped off, while the two men on foot were taken to the hospital. One of those men was later released from the hospital and was being questioned by police.

Police were on citywide tactical alert following the shootings and established a perimeter, but did not immediately arrest anyone.

Following Pickens’ arrest on Friday, police did not provide a suspected motive.

It was also unclear if he was tied to both shooting incidents.

Pickens was held in lieu of $1 million bail. The case was expected to be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday, LAPD stated.

Anyone with information was asked to contact LAPD’s West Bureau Homicide detectives at 213-382-9470.

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