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SHOOTING OF GUARDSMEN MAY BE GANG RELATED

SHARE SHOOTING OF GUARDSMEN MAY BE GANG RELATED

A shooting that killed an Indiana National guardsman who was here to provide security during the Olympics and wounded another may be gang related, police said Monday.

Police worked from a sketchy description as they tried to track down a gunman they said jumped from behind some bushes and began firing at the two early Sunday in this Atlanta suburb.Spec. Juventino P. Silva, 25, of Highland, Ind., died of multiple gunshot wounds, police Capt. John King said. Sgt. Danny L. Cook, 43, of LaPaz, Ind., was wounded by a bullet that grazed his head. He was treated at a hospital and released.

The guardsmen, off duty and wearing civilian clothes, were shot only hours before they were to return home from duty at the Olympics. The attack came early Sunday as they walked several blocks from a restaurant back to their base at a school in this suburb about 12 miles northeast of Atlanta.

Police Maj. Clifford Edwards said gang initiations sometimes involve hijacking cars and shooting people chosen at random.

"We are focusing our efforts now on a gang initiation," he said.

Silva's girlfriend, Iris Rodriguez, said he had been ready to come home. "He sounded so good," she said. "This was the first time we had been separated in 10 months. The last thing he told me was `I love you, baby.' "

The last time she saw Silva was in Atlanta on July 28, when she drove down to spend the day with him.

Cook was treated and released from a hospital. His son, Ben Cook, told Indianapolis television station WISH-TV that Silva may have saved his life by knocking him down and taking most of the bullets.