SANTA ANA (CBS/AP) — Prosecutors on Tuesday filed murder, street terrorism and other felony gang charges against two men accused in what authorities said was a gang-related shooting that instead took the life of a 9-year-old Anaheim girl.
The arraignments of Alfredo Aquino, 20, of Anaheim and Ricardo Cruz, 19, of Buena Park were continued Tuesday.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the two had retained attorneys or would rely on public defenders, who are assigned at a first court appearance.
Ximena Meza was playing with her sisters and other children outside her apartment Oct. 22 when a white car pulled up and a man got out and opened fire on a group of men nearby. Meza was struck in the chest by a single bullet and later died.
Her parents were in the jail courtroom Tuesday to watch the proceedings.
Meza family spokesman John Dunton told CBS2/KCAL9 relatives were still “in mourning” and did not wish to make a formal statement.
“We are positive 100 percent that the Anaheim Police Department did not make a mistake on this arrest,” Dunton said.
Family and friends of at least one of the suspects did not wish to speak to reporters but instead flashed obscene hand gestures as they exited the courtroom.
The neighborhood where the shooting took place is in a gang-plagued area of Anaheim.
Cruz was on parole at the time for a weapons violation, and Aquino was on probation, Anaheim police Lt. Robert Dunn said.
Both were convicted in July on charges of possession of a prohibited weapon and street terrorism, but they were given credit for time served because the violations occurred in October 2013, said Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Michele Gile reports they are being held on without bail and are scheduled to appear in court in November.
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