COMPTON (CBSLA) – Two rival gang members were charged with murder Friday in a shootout whose crossfire killed a 3-year-old boy outside a Compton liquor store in January.
Dwayne Ward, 30, and Kevaughn Harris, 27, face one count each of murder in the death of Franklin Ponros. They are also charged with shooting at an occupied motor vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon.
The shooting occurred on the night of Jan. 20 in the parking lot of Nate Liquor in the 2800 block of West Alondra Boulevard.
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office reports that Ward and Harris got into a verbal dispute that culminated in the two pulling out handguns and exchanging gunfire.
Harris’ girlfriend and her 3-year-old son Franklin were sitting in Harris’ car at the time. A bullet from Ward’s gun struck Franklin in the head while he was in the backseat, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies said.
In the surveillance video, Ward can be seen firing at a man who is approaching the vehicle where Franklin was sitting. However, back in January, Franklin’s family told CBS2 they believe Harris started the shootout.
“You (Harris) started the shooting, so I don’t understand why you’re not behind bars,” Franklin’s father Richard Ros told CBS2 News following Ward’s arrest.
After Harris and his girlfriend drove away in the car, they realized Franklin had been wounded. They pulled over in front of a restaurant about two miles away in Carson, the sheriff’s department said, and the couple called 911. Responding deputies made a judgment call, deciding that they could not wait for paramedics, and raced the boy to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he died later that night.
Ward surrendered to authorities two days after the killing on Jan. 22. Harris was taken into custody Wednesday, according to L.A. County jail records.
If convicted as charged, they face a maximum sentence of life in prison. Both will be arraigned Friday in L.A. County Superior Court in Compton.