Gang members appear in court in alleged Duarte hate crime attack

Two Latino gang members accused of shooting a black man and trying to run him over with a car in an alleged hate crime in Duarte last month appeared in court Friday, authorities said.

Ali Vasquez, 22, Mario Luevano, 18, and a 17-year-old boy whose name was not released due to his age are suspected of shouting racial slurs as they carried out the crime, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Carlos Lopez said in a written statement. All three are members of the Duarte Eastside street gang.

The adult suspects appeared in Los Angeles County Superior Court Friday to be arraigned on three counts of attempted murder Friday, court officials said, however the hearing was delayed until Feb. 19 and the suspects did not enter pleas.

The alleged attack took place about 6:30 a.m. on Dec. 31 at Highland and Central avenues, officials said.

“Suspects Vasquez, Luevano and a male juvenile shot a male black adult twice in the upper torso with a shotgun and handgun,” according to the sheriff’s statement. “The suspects then attempted to run the victim over with their vehicle, which was was later determined the suspects had stolen.”

The wounded man is an Altadena resident in his late 40s who was visiting a friend in Duarte when he was shot, officials said. The suspects passed by him in an allegedly stolen car before getting out to confront him.

Deputies arrested Luevano Jan. 5 on an unrelated charge of possession of a controlled substance while armed with a loaded firearm, officials said.

The alleged victim cooperated with authorities duing the lenghty investigation, officials said.

Vasquez and the juvenile were arrested on Jan. 8 and 20, respectively, while deputies carried out search warrants at their homes.

Vasquez and the juvenile are Duarte residents, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Mark Glatt said. Luevano’s city of residency was not available Friday.

According to sheriff’s booking records, Vasquez was being held without bail, while Luevano was being held in lieu of $2.18 million bail.

The shooting took place only weeks after a judge enacted a gang injunction in Monrovia against two waring gangs, the Du Roc Crips and Monrovia Nuevo Varrio.

Monrovia officials complained that Duarte did not join in the injunction, which may have allowed it to include Duarte Eastside.

Duarte officials have said they fear Monrovia’s injunction against the Du Roc Crips and MNV could strengthen Duarte Eastside.

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