14-Year-Old Gang Member Arrested In College Student’s Slaying

SAN PEDRO (CBSLA) – A 14-year-old gang member has been arrested in the shooting death of a CSU Fullerton sophomore last month outside a Halloween party in Wilmington.

A Wilmington boy has been charged with murder in the killing of 19-year-old Alex Zepeda, also of Wilmington, Los Angeles police announced in a news conference Tuesday at the Harbor Community Police Station in San Pedro.

In the early morning hours of Oct. 28, Zepeda was on a sidewalk in the 1100 block of West Cruces Street when he was struck by gunfire. He died at the scene.

While the Halloween party was not gang-affiliated, police said, the shooting likely stemmed from a decades-long rivalry over boundaries between rival Wilmas gangs. The suspect, who was arrested Nov. 2, was not identified because he is a juvenile. It is unclear if he was targeting Zepeda specifically.

Zepeda’s cousin told CBS2 that Zepeda was not in a gang, and believes he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Zepeda was a scholar-athlete at Banning High School who interned for Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office before going off to college. In Tuesday’s news conference, Buscaino praised the teen.

“Alex Zepeda did everything right,” Buscaino said. “A scholar-athlete at Banning High School, part of the ITEP program, played soccer, was civically engaged, was a police cadet. And like many youth in the Harbor and Wilmington community, he was the first to go off to a major university.”

The suspect is being held at the Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey.

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