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Thursday, 27 November 2008

long-running feud between the notorious Avenues Gang and the rival Cypress Park gang, whose territory includes the northeast Los Angeles neighborhood

12:22 |

Los Angeles Police Department and sheriff's investigators had initially focused their investigation on Escalante's work at the Men's Central Jail, where he guarded the most dangerous inmates, including members of the Mexican Mafia. Investigators have combed Escalante's personal life for clues. But they are now zeroing in on the possibility that Escalante was slain by local gang members -- perhaps by assailants who were not even aware that he was a lawman.Authorities are especially interested in the long-running feud between the notorious Avenues Gang and the rival Cypress Park gang, whose territory includes the northeast Los Angeles neighborhood where Escalante was killed.Investigators know that finding new witnesses four months after the killing is difficult, especially when there's a risk of reprisals from gang members. Standing in a neighborhood where gang roots run deep and allegiance carries over from generation to generation, Escalante's wife told reporters that detectives had assured her that anyone with information could contact the LAPD anonymously.
"Don't be afraid not to say something because you are scared of retaliation," she said.By calling, she said, tipsters will allow her three children to know that "our justice system works.""Abel lived and breathed for his kids. It is hard," she said, with Alexander Abel, 10, Marissa, 8, and Julian, 3. She said they ask, "When is Dad coming from the cemetery?""How do I explain to you Dad is not coming home," Escalante said.The holidays are the most difficult, she said. It was tough to smile without her husband as her children went trick-or-treating on Halloween. Thanksgiving will be another test. "This family is suffering greatly at this time," said LAPD Deputy Chief Charlie Beck, standing with Escalante and her children to announce a $95,000 reward for information leading to a prosecution in the case.
The deputy was preparing to leave for work from his parents' Thorpe Avenue home Aug. 2 when someone came up from behind and shot him in the head as he was adjusting a child's car seat in the family's car. Sheriff Lee Baca said the crime will only be solved with the public's help. "We are looking for people to do the right thing," he said. Councilman Ed Reyes, who helped arrange the reward, said there was no greater gift to this family this holiday season than to come forward and bring the killer of a loving husband and father of three to justice. "We can make a difference," he said.

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