PASADENA >> A Pasadena church is hosting a youth forum this month featuring the son of executed killer, gang leader and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Stanley “Tookie” Williams.
The “Youth Speak Out” forum will take place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1700 N. Raymond Ave., FAME Board of Directors member Pamela Short Powell said.
The event is targeted toward young people ages 16 to 35.
Travon Williams will discuss, “his lived experiences in the gang culture and how making he right decisions can have a positive impact on life’s challenges,” church representatives said in a written statement.
His father, who was an early leader of the Crips street gang in Los Angeles before being convicted and executed for four murders, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize six times while behind bars, “in recognition of his work against gang violence, anti-gang choices and life in prison,” according to the statement.
A panel of young people from local high schools, colleges, churches and other organizations will be invited to engage in a dialogue with Travon Williams and speak out regarding the issues and challenged they face in their lives.
Community resource providers and social service agencies will also be on-hand to provide information.
For more information, FAME Pasadena can be reached at 626-798-0503, or online at famepasadena.org.
“Community members walked from Fountain of Life Church, to the Fair Oaks Burger, where Christopher Walker was killed on April 30, 2015. This marks the six-month anniversary of the murder of Christopher Walker. Christopher spent much of his short life affiliated with a gang, but he had put that behind him. At the time of his death, Walker turned his back on gang life and he had a family and a full-time job.This event is a call to action for the community of Altadena. Community leaders and members will come together to learn ways to curb gang affiliation and violence in the community and offer options to Altadena and Pasadenas at-risk youth. (Photo by Walt Mancini/Pasadena Star-News)”
ALTADENA >> Loved ones and community members marched through Altadena Thursday to memorialize the life of a 26-year-old father of two who was gunned down in an unprovoked attack at a hamburger stand last year, as well as call on the community to work toward solutions to gang violence.
More than 100 people met at the Fountain of Life Church before heading to Fair Oaks Burger, where Christopher Walker was killed in an ambush on Oct. 30, 2014 as he sat on the outdoor patio of the restaurant.
“We want people to know who Christopher was, but we also want people to know it’s time to do something about the violence in out community,” Walker’s mother Ursula Walker said.
“All life matters. That is my main point today,” she said.
PHOTOS by Walt Mancini
HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A jury Wednesday convicted a West Covina man of shooting a rival gang member in the throat last year, officials said. The shooter’s getaway was foiled when his bicycle chain snapped.
A Pomona Superior Court jury deliberated for less than two days before finding Andrew Philip Kingsbury, 21, guilty of the May 14, 2014, shooting of a then-44-year-old Hacienda Heights man in the 1000 block of Olympus Avenue,” Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement. The jury convicted him of attempted murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
“The defendant traveled to Hacienda Heights, spotted a gang member, walked up and shot him in the throat,” Ardalani said.
The victim was hospitalized in stable condition, sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials said.
Kingsbury tried to flee on a bicycle, but was soon apprehended after the chain on his bike broke, Thurlo said.
Kingsbury faces up to 34 years to life in state prison when he returns to court for sentencing June 5, Ardalani said.
LA PUENTE >> The community is invited to join sheriff’s officials for a conversation regarding La Puente’s gang injunction next week.
The community meeting will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. March 5 at the La Puente Community Center, 501 Glendora Ave., according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro.
The permanent civil injunction targeting gang members and gang-related activity has been in place since 2011. It is meant to curb the activities of the local street gangs Puente 13 and Bassett Grande. Deputies have described the injunction as a valuable tool in combating gang crime.
Members of the sheriff’s gang task force, known as Operation Safe Streets, will be on hand to discuss the injunction, along with the La Puente Special Assignment Tem and Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Michael Fern of the D.A.’s Hardcore Gang Division, Cacheiro said. And crime analyst Henry Gil will provide statistics regarding the gang injunction and its impact on crime.
In addition to La Puente, the injunction also covers a portion of West Covina and nearby unincorporated county area such as Valinda and Bassett.
For more information, contact Deputy Viviana Marez at 626-934-3303, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
AZUSA >> A gang member with a lengthy criminal record who was released from earlier this month under AB 109 guidelines was back behind bars Sunday after being caught with a stolen and loaded handgun, police said.
Officers chased down and arrested Anthony Joseph Zepeda, 23, of West Covina about 11:30 p.m. Friday after he ran from officers and discarded a handgun in the 700 block of South Donna Beth Avenue, according to Azusa police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
Two officers noticed two “suspicious” men standing near a parked car, Sgt. Andy Sutcliffe said in a written statement.
“When the officers began investigating, the men split up and ran in different directions,” Sutcliffe said.
Zepeda jumped residential fences and ran through backyards before officers captured him, the sergeant said.
“Officers learned while running from them, he through a 9mm handgun on the roof of a residence,” he said. The gun, which was loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition, had been reported stolen in Glendora.
The second man who also fled from police was not found.
According to police and booking records, Zepeda was released from county jail Jan. 13 under the guidelines of AB 109, also known as California’s 2011 Public Safety Realignment. The legislation shifts custody and post-release supervision of convicted felons from state prisons and parole agents to county jails and probation departments.
He was released after serving less than three months of a six-month sentence he received in October of 2014 for violating his probation, records show.
Zepeda, who wears the name of area street gang “KHA” or “Kings Have Arrived” tattooed on his chin, has an extensive criminal history dating back to 2010, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records.
KHA began as a tagging crew, officials said. The group was declared a criminal street gang by prosecutors in 2008 after two of it’s members were linked to the fatal 2007 shooting of a 14-year-old boy and his father in front of their Baldwin Park home.
Zepeda’s previous convictions include drug possession in 2010 and 2014; possession of drug paraphernalia in 2010 and 2012; being under the influence of drugs in 2011; fleeing police in a vehicle in 2011; and domestic battery in 2011 and 2014, court records show.
Zepeda was being held without bail pending a scheduled appearance Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.
PASADENA >> Police arrested a man who threw a handgun while running from police late Saturday, officials said.
Officers jailed alleged gang member Unique Dedwin Robinson, 22, of Fontana on suspicion of carrying a concealed handgun, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
Officers spotted a group of suspected gang members about 10:30 p.m. at Sunset Avenue and Hammond Street, outside of the Kings Villages apartment complex, Luna said.
As officers approached the group, Robinson walked away, the lieutenant said. But he walked toward other officers who were approaching from another direction.
Robinson threw a .22-caliber, semi-automatic handgun as he fled from the police into a nearby home, where he was arrested a short time later, Luna said.
Los Angeles County booking records indicated Robinson was being held in lieu of $90,000 bail pending his initial court date.
PICO RIVERA >> Coroner’s officials Sunday identified a Pico Rivera man found fatally shot beside a bicycle on a Rosemead Boulevard sidewalk early Saturday.
Matthew Albert Garcia, 26, died following the shooting, which was reported just before 6 a.m. Saturday in front of an apartment complex in the 5400 block of Rosemead Boulevard, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Investigator Dana Bee said.
A passer-by found him lying on a sidewalk with gunshot wounds, Sgt. Troy Ewing of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
No suspect description was known, officials said. The shooting was believed to be gang-related.
NORWALK >> A pleaded “no contest” to a voluntary manslaughter charge Tuesday for fatally shooting another man during a dispute confrontation in early 2013, officials said.
A judge immediately sentenced Andrew Ramos, 29, of Norwalk to six years in state prison after he entered his plea in Norwalk Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Prosecutors initially charged Ramos with murder for the Jan. 2, 2013, fatal shooting of 32-year-old Jimmy Deleon Hernandez of Norwalk in the 14000 block of Gard Avenue in Norwalk, Ardalani said.
In a negotiated plea, Ramos entered a “no contest” plea to a single felony charge of voluntary manslaughter, she said.
Officials described Ramos and Hernandez as rival gang members. The shooting took place after Hernandez confronted Ramos at a Norwalk home.
“(Hernandez) confronted Ramos while he was on the porch,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement. “The two men had an exchange and Ramos shot Hernandez several times.”
Hernandez succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.
“An eyewitness account linked Ramos to the crime and he was arrested a week later in connection with the killing,” the statement said.
SANTA ANA >> A La Habra gang member received a sentence of 50 years to life in state prison Friday for fatally shooting a Westminster man outside a La Habra Halloween party eight years ago, authorities said.
A Santa Ana Superior Court jury convicted David Anthony Parga, a 28-year-old member of the West Side La Habra street gang, late last year of second-degree murder for the Oct. 29, 2006, slaying of 27-year-old Leland Washington, according to Orange County District Attorney’s officials.
In addition to finding Parga guilty of murder, the jury also found true special allegations that the crime was gang-related, and that Parga personally used a firearm in the killing, district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Washington, a senior at California State University, Long Beach, attended a Halloween party in the 400 block of West First Street when he was shot to death shortly after 1:30 a.m., officials said.
Though the party was attended by many gang members, Washington had no gang ties, district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Washington went to the party at the invitation of two friends, but returned to his car after he was unable to find them.
“Outside of the house, Parga approached Washington and shot him without provocation several times in the torso,” according to the district attorney’s office statement. “Parga murdered the victim for a criminal street gang purpose. Washington and Parga did not know each other, and the victim had no previous contact or conflict with anyone at the party.”
Washington’s friend placed the wounded man into a car, called 9-1-1 and rushed him to the La Habra Police Department, officials said. He was then taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
After the investigation into Washington’s murder went cold, prosecutors developed new evidence and charged Parga with the killing in 2009. He was already serving a jail sentence for leading police on a chase in a stolen car that ended with a crash in Whittier about two weeks after the slaying.
WHITTIER >> Prosecutors filed murder charges Friday against two alleged Pico Rivera gang members accused of fatally shooting a man as he took out the garbage at his Whittier home in broad daylight.
Jonathan Rojas, 34, died at a hospital following the Aug. 30 shooting at Washington Avenue and La Cuarta street, according to Whittier police and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials.
Anthony Michel Delci, 30, and Victor Marcus Arzate, 24, pleaded not guilty Friday in Bellflower Superior Court, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Police described both suspects as members of the Pico Nuevo street gang.
Delci, Arzate and a teenager who has not been charged in the case drove past Rojas’ home about 12:10 p.m., investigators said. They stopped in front of a front of a group of people on the porch.
“Delci and Arzate yelled out their gang affiliation, flashed some gang signs and then drove off,” according to the Whittier police department statement.
“Delci and Arzate circled around and came back to the residence on Washington Avenue, Delci stopped his vehicle in front of the victim’s address and Arzate exited the vehicle and approached Rojas who was taking out the trash,” the statement said.
Arzate asked Rojas what gang he belong to, and Rojas responded he was not in a gang, the police statement said. “Arzate then fired a .357 revolver at Rojas, striking him several times.”
The two suspects and the teen then all fled in Delci’s Honda CRV SUV, officials said.
After identifying Delci’s SUV as the one used in the shooting, Delci was arrested later that night, police said. He had the alleged murder weapon with him. Arzate was arrested Sept. 5.
Prior to being charged with murder Friday, Delci was being held on suspicion of illegal gun possession, and Arzate was being held in connection with an alleged robbery, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Brock Lunsford said. Arzate has also since been charged with illegal gun possession.
Prosecutors also allege the slaying was gang-related, that a firearm was used in the killing and that Delci personally used a gun in the crime.
If convicted as charged, Delci and Arzate could each face more than 50 years to life in state prison. They were scheduled to appear in Norwalk Superior Court Oct. 14 for a preliminary hearing setting. Bail has been set at more than $2 million each.