So, in my current work three groups are embroiled in gangwars against each other pretty much from the start of the story. Say, Tom, Dick and Harry. Tom has three important characters (as in I don't want them killed quickly), Dick has two such, and Harry has one. The problem I'm facing is this: In shootouts between them, if only random unnamed mooks die whereas the important ones escape, then that would seem a little too... convenient? Whereas if the main ones are prematurely killed then that would screw with my plans for the plot. Introducing characters only to have the killed later doesn't seem to solve it either, because it becomes apparent why they are there. Ideas?