Published June 16, 2013
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – For decades there have been two Santa Monicas.
There's the hip beachfront town packed year-round with tourists who cram its trendy bars and restaurants, stay at its pricey beachfront hotels and frequent the T-shirt shops and carnival rides along its funky, old wooden pier.
And then there's the Santa Monica the tourists never see, although it's just as real to those who live along its hard-scrabble streets, in a neighborhood hemmed in by a freeway and sometimes riddled with gang violence.
In the past week those two cities collided, first when a troubled young man armed himself with a semi-automatic rifle and stormed through the neighborhood, killing five people.
Four days later, someone fatally shot another person in the same dicey area.