South LA Building Owners Sued for Allegedly Failing To Curb Gang Violence

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today that his office is suing the owners of a South Los Angeles apartment building that has been the scene of several arrests and two consecutive gang-related homicides in December.

The six-unit complex, in the 900 block of East 91st Street, is 450 feet away from KIPP Academy Elementary School and “has been the epicenter of gun violence in a neighborhood where no one should have to live this way,'' Feuer said.

The lawsuit alleges that since Winston Yaw and Vannak Chim took ownership of  the property in 2018, they have enabled  criminal activity by not implementing reasonable security and other measures.

Efforts to reach the defendants for comment were unsuccessful.

On Dec. 9, 25-year-old Tyrone Wofford was standing at the property when he was shot by two rival gang members Feuer said. He bled to death at the scene.

During a vigil for Wofford at the property the following night that attracted about 100 people, another rival gang member fired several rounds at the property and a 28-year-old woman was fatally struck, according to Feuer.

“To give you a sense of what it's like to live in this neighborhood when this kind of activity occurs, police recovered 80 rounds in just the course of that 48-hour period that were fired in around that scene back and forth,'' he said.

The location has also been the scene of several other crimes and arrests since December, according to LAPD Deputy Chief Regina Scott.

“Since that time, we're talking one building with six units account(ing) for three homicides, 10 assaults with a deadly weapon, 27 arrests were made in and around that location and 77 calls for service radio calls at that location,'' she said.

The property's owner were placed on notice a year ago, according to Feuer, who said his office, along with the LAPD, has met with them to discuss the issues and urged them to address the violence.

Feuer's office is now seeking an injunction to force the owners to:

-- hire a professional management company and state-licensed security;

-- ensure that access to the property prevents people who shouldn't be there from entering; and

-- install better lighting and video cameras.

“These are all ingredients that we've employed in many other circumstances where there's been similar outbreaks of violence, and we're able to transform locations that have been the epicenters of gun violence into a property that's actually not a source of problems for the neighborhood at all,'' Feuer said.

“If we can change the physical conditions at properties like this ...we can prevent a problem in the first place,'' he said.

Photo: Getty Images

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