It only occurs to me now, but some two years ago, when the sound of gunshots in Echo Park was fading down rapidly, Chicken Corner never would have called Echo Park the "drive-to" neighborhood except in irony. How quickly we fall asleep when things get quiet.
Saturday there was a fatal shooting near our house in Elysian Heights. We weren't home to hear the shots. I heard about it today. One reader emailed me:
As to "Echo Park, the drive-to neighborhood"....sadly it seems possibly also to be still "Echo Park, the drive-by neighborhood." Perhaps it was merely a lovers' quarrel, but the police tape across Baxter at Echo Park Avenue and up the hill at Vestal and word from police that a 24-year-old man had died brought back memories of the Echo Park of the 1980s when shootings were a regular thing.
Eating dinner outside at friends' on Altivo Way, we debated the two quick pops. Was it gunfire or leftover fireworks? The sirens and circling helicopter gave us the answer.
A typical conversation (even now, occasionally) in my house:
"Did you hear that?"
"How many did you hear?"
A friend on our street emailed the neighbors the following from the LA Times homicide blog:
Michael Joseph Lezay, 15, a Latino youngster, was found dead of a single gunshot wound in an alley after people heard shots coming from the 1600 block of Baxter Street in Echo Park at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 21. It was the first homicide this year in Echo Park. LAPD Northeast homicide detectives seek information. Call (213) 847-4261.
Fifteen? And the NRA says guns don't shoot people.