Young Man Stabbed to Death on Veterans' Day

Two suspected gang members are wanted for Northeast L.A.’s sixth homicide so far this year.

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A suspected gang member stabbed to death a young man in Highland Park on Veterans' Day Monday following a fistfight between the victim and another gang member.

The victim, aged 19 years, was identified as Andrew Michael Sittiams, according to a post on the Los Angeles Police Department Northeast Division Facebook page. He succumbed to his injuries after being transported to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena about an hour-and-a-half after being stabbed, Sgt. Lisa Philips, a watch commander at the LAPD Northeast Division told Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch.

It was the sixth murder in the Northeast Division so far this year, and it occurred just three days after LAPD Chief Charlie Beck quoted the latest 2013 crime figures and reported that homicides in Northeast Los Angeles have dropped dramatically by 50 percent, setting the city on track to record the lowest number of homicides since 1966.

There was no known motive for Monday’s murder, which occurred at about 4:30 p.m. on the 7100 block of North Figueroa Street, less than half a mile east of the Yosemite Drive intersection in Eagle Rock, Philips said. (See attached map.) Detectives are trying to piece together evidence from the murder and have made no arrests so far, the watch commander said.

What’s known about the incident is that the victim and a male friend of his were walking north on Figueroa when the two suspects drove by in a dark-gray four-door sedan, Philips said. One of the suspects asked the victim and his friend which gang they were from, the watch commander said, adding that “some sort of words were exchanged” and the suspects drove away but then returned. 

The suspect who was driving got out of the sedan and a fistfight ensued between him and the victim, Philips said. That’s when the second suspect jumped out of the car and “began stabbing the victim, who eventually collapsed,” Philips said, adding that both suspects then jumped into their vehicle and drove south along Figueroa.

Both suspects are believed to be aged 20 years to 25 years, and had tattoos on their faces, Philips said. The suspect who got into a fistfight with the victim had tattoos on his chin as well and is described as about six feet tall, the watch commander said. The other suspect is about 5-foot-8.

The suspects’ gang affiliations are not currently known. Neither the victim nor his friend are believed to be gang members, Philips said, adding that the entire incident appears to be a random one, as opposed to something preplanned.

The lead detective investigating the murder is Det. Harold Dicroce, who also investigated the well-known Matthew Turner case in which a 21-year-old Highland Park resident was convicted of killing a local gang member and maiming another in October 2008. 

Editor's note: The name of the victim has been added to this article since it was initially published.

Andrew Hindes November 15, 2013 at 06:23 PM
@Alex White--Breathe! My comment had nothing to do with the statute under which the crime should be prosecuted and I am in no way advocating for lighter sentencing for the perpetrators. As I stated, my concern has to do with the way the crime is described in news reports because I believe that, sadly, a lot of people see "gang-related murder" and think, on some level: "oh, it's gang members in a turf war, that's sad but it's got nothing to do with me."
Andrew Hindes November 15, 2013 at 06:32 PM
@True Freedom. Good point. Perhaps my analogy was off the mark. But as I said in my response to Alex, above, I believe the "gang-related" description may have robbed the crime of its impact on readers of media reports. How else to explain why there has been so little coverage of this tragic incident.
Julee November 15, 2013 at 07:53 PM
I agree with you Andrew and yes it's an entirely different point than the one Alex is making. They are two different topics. When people use the language "gang-related murder" I can see how it does create in ones mind that the victim was also a gang member. When gang members attack an innocent by stander like myself, anyone reading this thread, or Andrew Michael Sittiams, it should be communicated more carefully by the media so that people having a clearer understanding of what happened.
Alex White November 16, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Breath...implying that posting relevant, insightful, factual, timely information perhaps useful for stoking awareness for those who might not know and also igniting healthy debate about a current and close social evil that's infecting entire neighborhoods and the nation, and which also might possibly create actual community action to overcome apathy and combat gang crime is somehow...? It's an open comment forum, I breathe fine, and I don't do fluff—especially about youth homicide and organized crime in LA. Sorry if I offend your sensibilities. Secondly, a logical non sequitur is still illogical whether you, I, or Ms. Julee agree or disagree as to content and meaning of my post vs. yours. That was my main point. Your sentences are yours. The rest was information and a bit of direct sarcasm. Probably most relevant and less incendiary than actually presenting verifiable facts vs. working off of emotion—the key is contained in the body of the story. "The suspects’ gang affiliations are not currently known. Neither the victim nor his friend are believed to be gang members, Philips said, adding that the entire incident appears to be a random one, as opposed to something preplanned." That fact is further qualified on NE LAPD's Facebook page, linked to the story. In no way was the victim ever portrayed as a gang member, although a "fudge phrase” (are believed) was used as is media customary. The story topic is clear. "A suspected pair of gang members attacked and killed an innocent man in Highland Park." That’s News. That’s relevant information. That’s what News is. Something interesting to read. It IS a gang-related murder because gang members are involved-- implied "Turf War" or otherwise. When gang members ask young men walking in the neighborhood (usually where they reside, but not always, as sometime they go on “runs” and actively hunt for victims)--“Which gang you from?"-- they are absolutely, unequivocally asserting territorial imperative. When they deliberately return and systematically murder someone, they are absolutely and unequivocally exerting territorial imperative. It's the way they work. It's their gang code of ethics. It’s either their Turf, or they are impeding on some other gang’s Turf. And then they do battle. Reporting that fact is relevant News. What I found P.C. and what started your “laudable defense” and my subsequent response is the non-identification of suspects’ or victim’s race, perhaps unknown at the time, but a usual Patch & LAT’s custom. I have a diatribe on that as well as I personally find it irresponsible journalism, liberal subterfuge! There’s a history between “The Parks” Latino gangs and Black residents. Some people might find that info relevant. Finally, liking Ajay’s style or otherwise, which by the way I do, and I assure you Ajay can defend himself, Patch is certainly circling the drain. It’s common knowledge. AOL is plastering Ads; changed their format to a less interesting user friendly style; and they are laying-off staff like a company attempting to stop a cash flow hemorrhage. They are also rearranging editors to take on more locals that they don’t live in or have a close attachment to. As a result, they are reporting less and less effectively. It’s obvious. Malibu just lost an editor I enjoyed. Craig Clough, who I also enjoyed, was moved from the area I work in. That Patch is now dreadful. The Kent, Ohio Patch, my hometown, 86’d their competent editor. As a result, the news coverage I read from there has suffered. It’s the elephant in the room. Now I Breathe…. Have a good day.


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