Instigator sentenced in fatal Pomona shooting

POMONA — An 18-year-old man described by prosecutors as the instigator in a fatal shooting was sentenced Thursday to 50 years to life in state prison.

Vincent Lopez was convicted of first-degree murder Sept. 2 in connection with the Aug. 14, 2010 shooting death in Pomona of 19-year-old Ramiro Chavez.

Authorities said Lopez, who’s affiliated with a La Puente-area gang, drove around Pomona with two friends after telling them he wanted to “put in work” for his gang.

At about 12:45 a.m. the group encountered Chavez standing on the sidewalk in the 500 block of Weber Street.

Lopez and one of his friends, 21-year-old Miguel Ayala, confronted Chavez armed with handguns, and Lopez asked Chavez if he was a member of a gang, prosecutors said.

Chavez told the men he was a member of a small party crew, and Lopez responded by shooting Chavez several times. Ayala then did the same at Lopez’s suggestion, prosecutors said.

At Lopez’s sentencing Thursday in Pomona Superior Court, Judge Bruce F. Marrs said Chavez suffered 14 gunshot wounds, seven of which would have alone been fatal.

Lopez’s prison sentence includes 25 years to life for first-degree murder, and another 25 years to life because he used a firearm in the course of the murder. He will be eligible for parole in 2060.

Ayala pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder, and he was sentenced last week to 35 years to life in prison.

The driver in the incident, 24-year-old Jose Rojas Martinez, pleaded no contest to acting as an accessory and was sentenced in July to three years in prison, a prosecutor said.

The three defendants were arrested the same day as the shooting. Two guns in their van were later linked to the shooting through ballistics testing, a prosecutor said.

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