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Worth a read this weekend was a lengthy Column One piece in the Los Angeles Times detailing the players and circumstances linked to the May killing of pro surfer Emery Kauanui Jr. in La Jolla.

Prosecutors are holding a group of local toughs known as the Bird Rock Bandits responsible for Kauanui’s death, alleging that the fistfight that ultimately ended in his demise was one of several examples of gang-like havoc the La Jolla High School alumni wreaked on the neighborhood.

From the article, which explores some of the sociological aspects of gang life in the ritzy seaside burg:

Authorities say the killing of Emery Kauanui Jr. was the tragic culmination of a spree of under-the-radar assaults spanning several years by the Bird Rock Bandits, which allegedly had morphed from a party crew into a street gang that intimidated and beat young adults in La Jolla.

Kauanui’s death — and the violent encounters that came before — has generated a wave of soul-searching in this seaside haven of 50,000 north of downtown San Diego. Were parents too indulgent or preoccupied? Were police too slow to spot the pattern? Were those aware of the beatings too afraid to speak up? Could the laid-back culture of La Jolla itself have created a climate of permissiveness, especially when it came to alcohol and fighting?

Also, check out our own Will Carlesslook at alleged suburban gang members like the Bird Rock Bandits.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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