Police find guns near park, several vehicles shot in separate incidents in Central Long Beach

Police discovered two firearms left near a park in Central Long Beach Saturday afternoon while they tried to find a group believed to be shooting rounds into the air, authorities said.

Officers responded to the 2300 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, near NAACP Freedom Park, at about 3:15 p.m. on Feb. 22 after getting a call that “a subject had just discharged a firearm into the air,” said Long Beach police officer Ben Hearst.

When officers arrived, they found several subjects matching the caller’s description, but they immediately fled from officers on foot, Hearst said.

Police set up a containment but were not able to locate the subjects.

Officers did locate two firearms in the area that they believe were discarded by the suspects, according to Hearst.

Later that day at about 7:45 p.m. and about half a mile south in the 1900 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, officers again responded to a report of a shooting.

Arriving officers found casings and several vehicles struck by gunfire, according to Hearst. The suspect or suspects fled before police arrived.

Officials say the shooting is believed to be gang-related, which police define as a crime committed for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a gang.

No one was struck by gunfire in either incident and the shootings do not appear to be related to each other, Hearst said.

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.