Three sharp cracks rang out, followed by three more in quick succession. The thoroughfare emptied. Two old men ducked behind a fence. A taxi jerked onto a side street. A mother shoved her toddler indoors.

The shooter, an MS-13 gunman, stood calmly on the corner in broad daylight, the only person left on the commercial strip. He stuck the gun in his waistband and watched the neighbourhood shake in terror.

Bryan, Reinaldo and Franklin scrambled into a neighbour's yard. In panicked whispers, they traded notes on the shooting, the third in less than a week. Only days earlier, a child

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