Man shot after Silver Lake graduation was student's older brother

Man shot after Silver Lake middle school graduation ceremony was the brother of one of the graduating students

Authorities on Friday identified the man shot to death in Silver Lake on Wednesday as the older brother of a student who was graduating at a nearby middle school.

Christopher Hernandez, 19, of Los Angeles, died in a hospital after he was found with multiple gunshot wounds outside of a Del Taco restaurant on Sunset Boulevard near Fountain Avenue, said Los Angeles County assistant chief coroner Ed Winter.

Hernandez was the older brother of a student graduating from Thomas Starr King Middle School, which held a ceremony that day, said Monica Carazo, a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles Unified School District. The shooting occurred about a half mile from the school. 

Hernandez and a man with a shaved head began to argue after the ceremony at around 11 a.m., witnesses said. Later, a black car is believed to have approached Hernandez as he walked on Sunset Boulevard, and shots were heard soon after, said Los Angeles police spokeswoman Sally Madera.

Police don't know if the shooting was a driveby or whether the shooter exited the vehicle before firing, but the car fled east on Sunset Boulevard with the shooter inside, witnesses said.

Police believe the shooting is gang-related.

The shooting prompted an hour-long lockdown at the nearby middle school, said Tomas O'Grady, a parent at the school. He said the shooting overshadows the progress that has been made at the school over the last seven years, when the school's API score was more than 200 points lower. 

"It's really sad," O'Grady said. "We've been working really hard to create this warm and loving atmosphere at the school."

Those with information that might lead to an arrest are encouraged to call detectives at (323) 344-5744.

Thursday's incident was Silver Lake's first homicide of the year, according to the Los Angeles Times Homicide Report. The neighborhood has seen just one other homicide since May 2012.

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