ANAHEIM ( — Two men have been arrested in connection with Wednesday’s shooting death of a 9-year-old girl, Anaheim police said Saturday.

Ximena Meza was playing with her sisters  in front of of their apartment complex in the 2300 block of West Greenacre Avenue when shots rang out about 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, and she was struck once in the chest, according to a press release from the Anaheim Police Department. She was taken to a hospital where she died 45 minutes later.

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Late Friday night, the press release states, Ricardo Cruz, 19, of Buena Park, and Alfredo Miguel Aquino, 20, of Anaheim were arrested at the Anaheim Police Department headquarters and booked for murder. The men, who are known gang members, are currently being held on $1 million bond.

Distraught family members cried and embraced Saturday afternoon as they got a first look at photos at the two men arrested in Meza’s death.

“It doesn’t really bring peace, but at the same time I wanted to look at the eyes of the people that killed by girl,” Meza’s aunt, Alexandra Ortiz, told CBS2’s Adrianna Weingold.

Meza’s parents stood grasping each others’ hands as police announced the arrests.

Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada said Cruz was on active parole while Aquino was on active probation when Wednesday’s shooting took place.

Police investigators say two or more suspects in a white vehicle drove down Greenacre Avenue where Meza was playing. A male suspect got out of the car and started shooting at a group of men nearby, and Meza was caught in the line of fire. After she was shot, the group of men ran from the scene while the car containing the suspect sped away. Investigators believe the shooting was gang-related.

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“This is the loss of innocence, and it’s touched everyone in our city,” Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said during the news conference.

“She was so amazing,” Ortiz said of her niece. “A friend to everyone, always smiling, a straight-A student. She was 9 and already in fifth grade, in advanced classes. She was really amazing, just an angel.”

Ximena Meza (credit: William Meza/CBS)

Ximena Meza (credit: William Meza/CBS)

An online effort has raised more than $6,000 for Meza’s funeral arrangements. Click here to access Ximena’s Funeral Fund.


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