The shooter at the Palm Tree Inn

Do I look familiar?
Do you know me?

It would be hard to miss this guy, don’t you think? Nineteen days after gunning down two men outside the 7-11 at Roscoe and Sepulveda, one-eyed, face-tatted, heat-packing, quick-on-the-trigger Angel Santana was apprehended at the Palm Tree Inn…a block from the crime scene.   The motel was also the ‘residence’ of DeShawn Miles, one of the victims.

To quote Capt. Todd Chamberlain of the LAPD:  “There’s something more to it than race, whether it’s gang, whether it’s some other activity.”  Hmmm, I’m stumped. What other sort of activity could this be?

Somehow -for 19 days- this guy was at large in the neighborhood, despite having his face on TV.  I don’t think that speaks well of a lot of people.  As it happened, I walked through North Hills twice in that period, with camera and dog, and was confronted at one point by a tattooed sh**head straddling his bike and warily eyeballing passerby on Sepulveda.  He wanted to know how long ‘I’d been working with the police’.  I chalked it up to random street hassle at the time.  Now I wonder if there wasn’t more to it.

He was parked in front of the Palm Tree Inn.

Two or three things about North Hills

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Two weeks ago two men were gunned down in front of the 7-11 on Sepulveda and Roscoe.   Their address was listed as the Palm Tree Inn.  Last night, fresh off watching Her, I walked up Sepulveda into North Hills.  I saw the usual women working the motels. Also people pushing churro carts and selling flowers.  Day laborers carrying duffel bags to the launderia.

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On Parthenia St, a man in front of the Igelsia Evangelista beckoned passerby into a service which was about to begin.  He handed me a religious tract.  ‘It’s important information. It is good for you. I promise.’   It explained how Christ would bridge the gap between sin and everlasting life. There was a place on the back for me to sign my confession.  Across the street another service was beginning at the Ministerio Cristiano Dios Con Nostros.  There weren’t enough chairs and people stood in the doorway.   Around the corner a man with a bullhorn stood behind a chain link fence beseeching people playing futbol at the North Hills Rec Center to repent and join him. His church was large and empty.

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I walked up Langdon Street and saw people emerging from their cars with creaky limbs after a long days work.  I saw people standing shirtless in open windows, their bellies hanging out in the evening breeze.  The shrieks of children playing in a scrum behind fortified gates of garden apartments filled the air.  Mattresses and couches were piled up on the sidewalks awaiting bulky item pickup.  Men with neck tattoos pushed baby strollers while their baby mamas kept up a steady patter of conversation.  People repaired their cars in the street. Gypsy merchants sold goods out of vans double parked in driveways.

On Sepulveda a police officer was talking to two prostitutes.  ‘I heard someone’s daddy was killed recently over at the 7-11.’  They shrugged indifferently.  In front of the Palm Tree Inn, a gang banger straddling a bicycle saw my camera and wanted to know how long I’d ‘been working with the police’.  I ignored him, and continued south, back to Van Nuys.