Sheriff's Department to deploy more deputies to Lancaster after shootings leave 4 dead in less than 24 hours

Generic police crime scene photograph - Police investigate a multiple murder scene at a dance studio near Garvey Ave. & Garfield Ave., in Monterey Park on Saturday morning, Jan. 22, 2023.
(Raul Roa / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will deploy more deputies to Lancaster after a series of gang-related shootings that left four people dead and several injured over a 24-hour period, authorities said Friday.

Gunfire rippled across the city Tuesday and escalated Wednesday just before 6 p.m., when seven people were shot in what the Sheriff's Department described in a news release as a gang-related attack.

Deputies arrived in the 800 block of East Avenue J-12 and found two wounded men, who were taken to a hospital and pronounced dead, officials said.

Shortly after, authorities received reports that five other gunshot victims had arrived together at another hospital.

The five were listed in stable condition, officials said.

The attack was a retaliation gang shooting carried out by people from outside the city who were armed with "assault weapons," Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said.

"It was a bloodbath," he said. "They were shooting into homes. It was a war zone."

On the previous night, deputies responded to shootings across the city.

A man was shot near Avenue J-8 and 30th Street West around 7:30 p.m. and taken to a hospital. About an hour later, a man was hit a few blocks away in the 45600 block of Sierra Highway. Deputies found the man with multiple wounds lying on the ground in a parking lot, according to authorities. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

About 45 minutes later, around 9:20 p.m., deputies responded to a third shooting, in the 400 block of East Avenue L. The victim, described as a teenage boy, was struck multiple times by two men while he was standing at a gas pump at a Chevron station. The suspects drove away in a white sport vehicle, according to authorities. The teen was taken to a hospital and died, according to the Sheriff's Department.

It's unclear whether the shootings are linked.

The attacks "are concerning and threaten the safety of our community," the Sheriff's Department said in a statement. The agency said the Lancaster station will roll out more visible patrols and personnel to areas where the shootings occurred.

"The station will be engaging community members at various city events to discuss safety concerns and share ongoing efforts to improve public safety," the statement said. "Additionally, we will be moving department specialized teams to target areas in Lancaster to enhance security."

Homicide investigators believe that at least three of the shootings are gang-related.

Lancaster, with a population of roughly 188,000, contracts with the Sheriff's Department for services. Parris said the county does not provide enough resources for his city. He said the sheriff's station in Lancaster is understaffed and was unable to adequately respond to the recent homicides.

The department did not specifically respond to Parris' comments.

In a statement, the department said it is "meeting" its "contractual obligations." A spokesperson said Sheriff Robert Luna is in contact with the mayor's office.

A few weeks earlier, on June 7, a man was shot in the 44000 block of Gingham Avenue around 2:30 a.m., according to the Sheriff's Department. The man was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.

The Los Angeles County medical examiner's office identified the man as Erick Monterroso Mcclaughlin, 19, of Lancaster.

The shooting remains under investigation. His family set up a GoFundMe page for funeral expenses.

Anyone with information about the Lancaster shootings is encouraged to call the Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Anonymous tips can be made with Crime Stoppers by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or at

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.