After a shooting claimed the life of a man in Westmont Wednesday morning, friends have identified the victim as 54-year-old Craig Batiste, a gang-intervention worker.
The shooting occurred about 8:45 a.m. near the corner of 111th Street and Hobart Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a news release.
The victim was standing near the intersection when a dark-colored sedan drove up. A passenger opened fire on the victim as he ran away, officials said. An occupant got out of the car and chased the victim into a driveway and shot him. The driver got away and was last seen heading west on 111th Street and out of view.
Batiste was found unresponsive in the driveway and had multiple gunshots wounds. He was declared dead at the scene.
The gunman was described only as being a Black male.
Authorities do not know if the shooting was gang-related. Batiste was a former gang member, but was working as a gang interventionist.
Friend Skip Townsend said that Batiste’s work helped save lives every day. He would do things like organize a meal between rivals to urge them to take a road that doesn’t lead to violence.
“He was sort of like the mayor of Western Avenue. He knew the store owners, he knew the parents, the grandparents,” Townsend said. “Just based on the relationship, he can help squash beefs.”
He believes the homicide wasn’t targeted, but was rather “misplaced anger.”
“The person who shot Craig definitely couldn’t have known him, because if they would have known Craig, they would have known that Craig is one who would help save their lives,” Townsend said.
Anyone with information about the fatal shooting is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.