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Casa Blanca Articles

Post  EVANS STR. GANG on Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:38 am

Here are some older Articles about the neighborhood i dont know if they have been posted before but i'ma put them up either way...

FORGIVENESS, y TRUCHA: Danny Ahumada Jr., loved and feared Casa Blanca, sought life outside its gang-ruled streets. He gained freedom only in death.
August 6, 2000
By Mark Petix The Press-Enterprise


They shot Baby Danny. Put a bullet into the back of his head. A rival gang member hiding behind a wall caught him looking the wrong way one night last December and that was that.

Danny Ahumada Jr. died two days later. It was not just one more unbearable loss in a family that for nearly 25 years has been Riverside's own Greek tragedy.

On the streets of Casa Blanca, in the eyes of the gangs that own them, Danny was the last of the Ahumadas.

Danny's family believes in God's mysterious ways, and they wonder if death wasn't the terrible price of his redemption. The only way the streets of Casa Blanca would ever let him go.

That is how they feel. This is what they know:

As he neared the end of his 24th year, one thing Danny wanted desperately was forgiveness. The other was peace.

How many times Danny Ahumada Jr. passed that church, no one can say.

The barrio Casa Blanca is a small place. One square mile of Riverside. Sixteen city blocks.

Danny was always pedaling his bike somewhere, often on business for the gang known as the Vagabundos.

His gang.

The way from here to there often took Danny down Diamond Street, past the Church of God of Prophecy. His family church.

One Thursday night last November, he stopped and parked his bike. He would say later he didn't know why.

It is fair to say most of the 100 or so people at a youth service that night were thinking the same thing:

That's Baby Danny, all right. But why?

"He just came in," said youth pastor Ernie Tamayo. "He was crying. He was literally pulling drugs and bullets out of his pockets and throwing them at the altar."

Danny lay face down on the floor, arms reaching for the altar. He was crying like a baby. He was asking God to save him.

*****

Danny was tired.

Eight years on the streets of Casa Blanca had done that. So had two visits to prison. His knuckles were scarred and he had the dark eyes of a soldier who has spent too many hours watching for the trouble he knows is coming.

For gang members, trouble is a promise on the streets of Casa Blanca.

On the street, Danny always spoke in whispers.

"Trucha," he would tell sister Kim Ahumada Florez.

Caution. Stay careful. Stay alert.

At one time it had been exciting, his sister says. There is a freedom that comes with being a Vagabundo, a power that only gang members know. They call themselves a club, and club members are family. They watch your back and celebrate victories. They plot revenge against your enemies.

There are perhaps 100 active gang members in Casa Blanca, police say, a tiny percentage of the 5,000 people who call Casa Blanca home. Most people in Casa Blanca work hard and own their homes.

But Casa Blanca's gangs are powerful, and deadly. They own the streets, especially late at night, when the wise are safe in their beds. They are small armies at perpetual war.

"Casa Blanca will fight anyone," said Tiffeny Keene, Danny's second cousin. "But mostly, they like to fight each other."

Every year is the same: The west side of Madison Street against the east. The Vagabundos of Fern Avenue against the Devil Wolves of Evans Street.

At 24, Danny was a nomad who carried his neatly folded clothes in a plastic bag. He was always restless, and never stayed in one place long. He lived off and on with his mother in Colton and relatives in San Bernardino and another part of Riverside.

But he always returned to Casa Blanca. To the streets.

Some say Casa Blanca is a magnet. People leave but they always return.

Others say Casa Blanca is a Venus flytrap. It catches people and never lets them go.

"He wanted something more," said 24-year-old cousin Pete Sarry. "Something better. But (the Vagabundos) would come looking for him. They would pressure him. They'd say, 'C'mon Danny,' and there he'd go."

In that moment, 27-year-old cousin Frances Sarry says, Danny's beautiful smile would vanish.

"Danny knew something was going to happen," she said. "Just this past year, he was real tired. I know Danny was suffering. He was suffering inside."

*****

He was always Baby Danny.

Casa Blanca knew him the day he was born.

He was the son of Julie Contreras and Danny Ahumada. Johnny, Georgie and Ralphie Ahumada were his uncles. John and Mary Ahumada were his grandparents.

Baby Danny was their delight, and they doted on him.

"I remember his charro outfit," Contreras said. "He was 2. Grandma Mary took him to Tijuana."

She bought him the hat, the serape, the pants, the boots. The works.

"I remember walking to the fiesta," Contreras said. "People came out of their houses. They said, 'What's Baby Danny going to do in the fiesta?' I said, 'Nothing. He just wants to wear it.' "

He just wanted to look good.

After the fiesta, they took Baby Danny to Sears on Arlington Avenue and had his picture taken. Contreras says the family was so proud when the photographer asked if he could display a copy at the store.

It was a good moment. One of the few.

Danny Ahumada Jr. was a prince of Casa Blanca, a marquee name feared, loathed and beloved in the barrio and beyond.

He was born into a war.

"I think a lot of people don't know about the feud anymore," said 22-year-old Kim Ahumada Florez. "We didn't get along."

*****

The feud between the Ahumada and Lozano families had been simmering since 1964, when Danny's grandfather, John Ahumada, was beaten and left partially paralyzed during an argument outside the Casa Blanca Cafe.

Police said he had been clubbed with a tire iron, or perhaps a part from a commercial ice cream maker. When he testified against Marcos and Roman Lozano, John Ahumada broke Casa Blanca's code of silence, the unwritten law that demands justice be handled inside the barrio.

For 12 years after the beating, the feud was mostly a matter of playground taunts, name calling and fistfights.

It turned deadly 12 days before Danny Ahumada Jr.'s first birthday. On Christmas Day, 1976, Gilbert Lozano Hernandez, a 22-year-old visiting from Arizona, was shot to death by gunmen in a passing car.

Not long afterward, Johnny Lozano Hernandez was shot to death outside a party in Casa Blanca. Johnny Ahumada and close friend Ruben "Redeye" Romero were acquitted in the killing.

The revenge was violent, and it was personal.

When the 27-year-old Romero pulled his motorcycle into the Texaco station at Madison Street and Indiana Avenue in May 1978, he was shot by three men. They knelt next to his body, made the sign of the cross, then shot him again at point-blank range.

Over the next nine years, at least nine more people were killed, including Danny Jr.'s uncle, Johnny Ahumada. He was shot to death in 1980 while drinking a beer in the front yard of a friend's home. He was 24.

Danny Sr. was shot the first time in 1977. He had stopped to watch a street fight. Someone grabbed him by the hair and shot him twice in the head. The wounds left him partially paralyzed and without full use of one arm.

They finally killed Danny Sr. in 1984. He was assassinated by three gunmen while sitting in a car at the same gas station where Ruben "Redeye" Romero had been killed. He was 27.

At age 9, Danny became the man of the house.

The New Yorker Magazine wrote about the feud in 1979. That same year, the feud was featured on "60 Minutes."

It was Hatfields and McCoys in the barrio. It was the stuff of ghastly legend.

When the feud was over, most of one generation of Ahumada and Lozano men were dead.

There was never a formal peace, but there was a compromise of sorts. Several members of the Ahumada and Lozano families have married. Like it or not, the two families are now technically one.

"That feud we used to have, it's gone," said Danny Jr.'s great aunt, Carmen Ahumada Arevalo. "All that is over now."

The killing is another matter.

"It's never finished," she said.

Police and prosecutors familiar with the barrio say the feud set a new standard for violence in Casa Blanca. It also introduced high-powered weapons. Scores once settled with fists or knives may now be settled with a rifle or a high-caliber handgun.

During those early years of death and revenge, there was another Ahumada family tragedy.

In 1979, a van carrying Danny's mother, Julie Contreras, was struck by a drunken driver. She was thrown from the van and paralyzed from the shoulders down.

"Baby Danny had been through a lot," said uncle David Avila. "I remember once he sat there and cried. He didn't understand why all this happened."

*****

After the accident, Julie Contreras lived in Colton, near her mother.

Danny's sister Kim was an infant. Even with a full-time health attendant in the house, Kim was too young for Contreras to care for, so she lived with an aunt and uncle in Colton.

Danny was a little older. He soon became his mother's companion and helper.

"He was really caring," Contreras said. "You know, he was always inside with me, watching TV, talking. He was such a good person. He never yelled at us, never raised his voice."

Danny also had become expert with a steam iron.

"I taught him young," she said. "I couldn't do it."

He also became a good cook. Pork chops were a specialty.

With family, Danny was always loving, laughing and taking charge.

His sister remembers playing baseball with Danny in the yard. "It was always his turn to hit the ball," she said.

He played Little League baseball and Pop Warner football.

"I didn't want him to," his mother said. "I didn't want him to get hurt."

When Danny was 13 or 14, his sister says he stopped playing sports.

"He started spending a lot of time with his grandma (Mary Ahumada)," Kim said. "He began going more to Fern Avenue."

Danny had gone to school in Colton. He transferred from Colton High to a nearby continuation school. When he was 16, his sister says Danny was on the streets of Casa Blanca to stay.

"A lot of it was because of his name," she said. "His family took him out of the neighborhood, but Casa Blanca brought him back."

It was where his father and uncles died, and where his name brought him attention and prestige. Family members say he felt comfortable in Casa Blanca.

He grew up with death as his compass. Each time Danny passed one of Casa Blanca's terrible landmarks, cousin Tiffeny Keene says someone would remind him, "That's where your father died." "That's where they shot your uncle."

"They never let him forget," she said.

His mother was always afraid for Danny. In an anxious moment, she would call friends and family in Casa Blanca.

"I'd say, 'Please look for Danny,' " she said. " 'You'll think I'm crazy, but if you see Danny, you tell him I want him to call me that day.' "

Someone would eventually flag Danny down as he rode by on his bike. "And he would always say, 'How'd you know where I was?' "

Danny made the newspaper for the first time in 1993, when he was 18. He was arrested during a rock- and bottle-throwing melee that began as a traffic stop in Casa Blanca.

He was sentenced to two years in prison for assaulting a policeman.

In 1997, he received another two-year sentence for possession of the drug PCP.

When he was released from prison in July 1999, he lived off and on with cousins Pete and Frances Sarry in San Bernardino.

Their two-bedroom home was Danny's sanctuary.

*****

Danny was a good fighter, says Pete Sarry. Skilled and fearless, like his father and uncle, Johnny Ahumada.

They all learned from Rudy Garavito, Danny's great-uncle and the longtime coach of Casa Blanca's boxing club.

Fists don't hurt, Danny would say. Don't cry.

Danny was short, maybe 5-foot-4. But he was wiry and strong, and his fists packed a surprising punch.

He was a rough kid, as anyone on the wrong side of his fists soon learned. In those moments, Danny's eyes would darken. He had a face that could bring down the thunder.

"Don't get me wrong," said sister Kim Ahumada Florez. "There were two sides to Danny."

With family, Danny was kind and caring.

On the streets, he was different.

"Danny had a lot of pressure," said cousin Frances Sarry. "He'd fight if he had to, if he had to defend that name, you know?"

He fought a lot.

"I feel it was because of what happened to his dad," she said. "He didn't talk about him very often. It was just a famous name. Everywhere he went they knew him. It was hard for him to walk in those shoes.

"But when Danny was here, he was different."

The home the Sarrys bought in 1998 was a fixer-upper.

"Danny was our handyperson," said Frances Sarry. "It would take him all day to do anything. First he'd destroy it, then he'd fix it. He used to run over the sprinklers with the lawn mower, and we'd look out there and see him fixing them."

Danny broke at least two windows with rocks kicked up by the lawnmower. He also cracked the windshield of the Sarrys' car when he sprayed it with cold water on an especially hot day.

"He wouldn't tell us until after we discovered it," Frances Sarry said. "He would say, 'Oh, yeah, I was going to tell you.' "

He was a 24-year-old kid.

"I would wake in the middle of the night and find Danny asleep with the Play Station controller in his hand," she said.

He was restless.

"Danny would always go back and forth," she said. "He would say he needed to go home now."

Home was his mother's house in Colton, his grandmother's house in Riverside.

And Casa Blanca.

"I was afraid of getting that phone call telling me something happened," Frances Sarry said. "I would tell my husband, let's go look for him. I feel that in a way, he never had a chance. He had to live up to his name."

******

The evening of Dec. 7, Danny and 18-year-old Armando Salcido Jr. walked down Madison Street to La Mexicana Market.

In Casa Blanca, Madison Street is no-man's-land, says Tiffeny Keene, Danny's second cousin and Armando's fiancee.

To go there after dark is an act of bravado and a deadly chance. They call it being caught slippin'.

Caught off your own turf. Caught without enough protection.

Armando told Tiffeny that Danny had asked him to watch the street while he talked with a man he knew. Police say the man was a rival gang member from Evans Street. The Devil Wolves.

Armando and Danny did not see a second Devil Wolf hiding behind a brick wall. Danny was shot once in the back of the head at close range. Armando ran for help.

It was a Thursday, another youth night at the Church of God of Prophecy, which stands perhaps 300 yards east of La Mexicana. Some of Danny's family were in church when the news came.

Baby Danny's been shot.

An uncle, who asked that his name not be used, said the hall outside Danny's room at Riverside Community Hospital was quickly packed with family and friends. Danny was in a coma with a fractured skull. His head was badly swollen. He would not live.

"In the hospital I was astonished," the uncle said. "Even though we knew his condition, there was no anger, there was no talk of getting back. There was prayer, laughter. Everybody was telling Danny stories."

His mother says visitors filed constantly in and out of Danny's room.

"Everybody was talking to him like he was really listening," she said. "Old friends, family. They'd say, 'Baby Danny, wake up. We're all here rooting for you. Remember when we did this?' "

Before Danny was taken off life support, family and friends gathered in the hall.

"We were all in a line in the hallway," his mother said. "We all held hands and said a prayer."

******

After Danny had walked unexpectedly into that youth service the night of Nov. 11, his sister asked him bluntly if he really wanted to change. He was 24 and still in a gang.

"He said, 'Yes, Kim, I do.' But he didn't want to go back and forth," she said. "When he did it, he wanted to go all the way."

An uncle also remembers talking with Danny after the youth service.

In the church, Danny made eye contact with a rival. That's how trouble usually starts. But this time, Danny paused. He turned to his uncle.

"Does God love me, Tio?," Danny asked. "God is trying to prove me. I don't want to hurt nobody. I don't feel like hurting nobody no more."

Danny called his mother early the morning after the service.

"Guess what happened?" he told his mother. "I got saved last night."

He was just riding by the church and stopped. It was like something was pulling him in.

He spent seven hours that Friday with youth pastor Ernie Tamayo.

Tamayo had been a gang member on Riverside's Eastside until he was 17. If they had met on the street, he and Danny would have been mortal enemies.

But that day, Tamayo said he made Danny some of his famous pancakes.

"He asked if I had a football," Tamayo said. "He wanted to play catch. He kept saying, 'I feel like a little kid again.'

"He still had a lot of fear. He was scared. A lot of people didn't like him. It's that life. It's that name."

There was a religious retreat that weekend in the mountains near Big Bear. Tamayo does not believe Danny's visit to the church was coincidence.

They hopped in the car and headed to the mountains.

"We talked about how scared he was," Tamayo said, "and that he didn't know how long he was going to be around. He actually thought he was going to die that weekend."

At the retreat, before an audience of some 300 people, an evangelist called Danny forward.

"He just cried like a baby," Tamayo said. "He said no matter what happened, he can die because he had found God. He was crying out to God. His face. I'll never forget his face."

When Danny died, his sister Kim had some hard questions for God.

"Why, God, did you take my brother?" she said. "Why did you take our dad? Two generations of violence."

She knows at least part of the answer.

"It would have been real hard for Baby Danny to leave Casa Blanca because of who he was," she said. "The people wouldn't let him go. Maybe that's why God took him from me."

Julie Contreras wants the gangs of Casa Blanca to know about Danny. The real Danny.

"The tough guys in the streets, they've got the big, bad image," she said. "They have to realize they can change. That's what Danny sought."

Ernie Tamayo hopes the gangs will listen, but says at least Danny is finally safe. He says Danny couldn't find peace in this world, so God took him to the next.

"It just shows how merciful God is, even when you're living so wrong," Tamayo said.

"God knows when we're going to die, and I think he knew Danny was going to die. So he gave him a wonderful chance to feel a touch from heaven."

Heaven has not yet touched the Vagabundos.

The night Danny died, police say two Vagabundos out to avenge his death chased 34-year-old Anthony Garcia into a driveway near his Evans Street home.

They shot him five times with a rifle.

Police say the Vagabundos had one more score to settle, some high-caliber housekeeping involving a teen nicknamed Mr. Drowsy.

Armando Salcido Jr.

Danny had been Armando's friend in Casa Blanca. His protector.

And Danny was gone.

Coming Thursday in Living: Danny Ahumada Jr.'s death left cousin Tiffeny Keene an fiance Armando Salcido Jr. shaken, but they hoped for a fresh start in the new millennium. Before the sun rose Jan 1, 2000, Armando's dreams ended in gunsmoke and Tiffeny faced the most difficult of her young life.


Trial highlights gang fear factor: CASA BLANCA: Officials hope to find out who made a telephone threat to a juror in the murder trial.
Author: MIKE KATAOKA
Date: August 11, 2001
Section: LOCAL

The murder trial of two Casa Blanca men ended with guilty verdicts this week but left some troubling unfinished business.

  Authorities still want to know who left an intimidating voice-mail message at the workplace of a juror, resulting in her removal from the panel during tense deliberations.

  "Your verdict is not guilty, do you understand?" the male caller said.

  "Obviously, our office and the court are interested in following this up," said Randall Tagami, a Riverside County assistant district attorney. "We aren't going to let the matter drop."

  Such threats are extremely rare, according to Tagami and legal experts, and the culprit is almost never caught.

  But in the trial of Gabriel Acosta, 22, and Larry Avila, 21, it was another example of the fear factor at work.

  Intimidation is a common characteristic of gang crimes, according to police and prosecutors.

  On Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Kelly Keenan had just won second-degree murder convictions against Acosta and Avila but he was still worried about the safety of his star witness, Tiffeny Keene, who identified the defendants as her boyfriend's killers. The defense called her a liar.

  Earlier in the trial, Avila also feared retaliation to the point that he essentially undermined his own defense.

  Riverside County Superior Court Judge Paul Zellerbach held Avila in contempt of court for refusing to identify a third participant in the slaying of Armando Salcido in January 2000.

  Keenan said Salcido was murdered for supposedly abandoning a fellow gang member who was shot to death weeks earlier in Casa Blanca.

  Zellerbach instructed the jury to disregard the testimony of Avila, who denied he was a gang member and professed his innocence. Acosta did not testify.

  Naming names, Avila's lawyer said, would have invited potentially deadly consequences.

  Intimidation factor

  Riverside County Superior Court Judge Gordon Burkhart, who has presided over numerous gang cases, said he often has had witnesses refuse to testify and gladly accept the contempt sanction of five days in jail over retaliation for being a "snitch."

  "But I've never seen any threats involving jurors," he said. And it's rare for a judge to be put in a position of having to strike a defendant's testimony, Burkhart said.

  Cheryl Kersey, who prosecutes gang-related crimes in San Bernardino County, said threats made against witnesses, victims and even herself come with the territory of taking on such cases.

  "It's a concern of mine, it has to be," Kersey said of the threats. "In the courtroom, I've been called just about every name you can think of."

  Kersey is prosecuting two San Bernardino men charged with murder and attempted murder in a 1998 shooting in which a young girl was killed and two adults were wounded.

  Several people called to testify in the trial, which this week was handed to a jury for deliberations, expressed fears they would face retaliation by gang members for taking the witness stand.

  John Davis, who supervises gang prosecutions in the Riverside County district attorney's office, said the gang culture has a code "like the unwritten rules of baseball."

  The most common threat, he said, is "if you testify against my home boy, we'll do something to you."

  Consequences of testifying

  And it does happen.

  Two teen-age witnesses who testified in a gang-related case in Riverside were beaten after taking the stand last year. The case involved a 16-year-old suspected gang member accused of the racially motivated attack on a man riding his bicycle through a Riverside neighborhood.

  Deputy District Attorney Michelle Paradise, who prosecuted the case, said a 13-year-old witness was beaten at school by another girl who told the victim the attack was in retaliation for her testimony.

  A high-school-age boy who testified in the same case was beaten and cut by several boys after he took the stand. The attackers, Paradise said, told the boy: "If our guy gets life, then so will you."

  The witnesses were relocated. Authorities were able to track down the attackers and they were prosecuted in juvenile court.

  "We wanted to make sure the persons who did this were prosecuted," Paradise said. "It was an important message to send."

  In the San Bernardino County case, Ernest Flores, the father of the slain girl, Mindy Flores, 8, admitted he felt he was a "marked man" for telling jurors he believed Isaac Aguirre, 27, a longtime family friend, was one of the gunmen who killed his daughter.

  The shooting of Mindy Flores allegedly occurred when Aguirre and another man targeted Armando "Chunky" Ibarra after Ibarra assisted police in the murder trial of a gang member, Kersey said. Davis said authorities do their best to protect those who testify and, in extreme cases, offer to relocate families.

  Change of heart

  In many cases, victims and witnesses will speak to police officers at the scene of shootings, but then have a change of heart once they are summoned to court, prosecutors say. They deny telling officers anything, even when confronted with tape-recorded statements they made, or testify they cannot recall events.

  Another obstacle to prosecuting gang cases are victims and witnesses who change their stories, even those who are not threatened by others.

  "It's the whole mentality. They don't want to be seen as a snitch." said Thomas Gage, a Riverside County prosecutor.

  Gage said he successfully prosecuted a Moreno Valley gang member for attempted murder in 1999 even after the victim, a member of a rival gang who was shot in the leg, told the court he could not remember anything about the case.

  Riverside County Deputy District Attorney John Ruiz has tried about 50 cases involving gangs and he estimates a quarter of them involved witness intimidation that could be documented.

  The passage of Prop. 21, the initiative aimed at curbing juvenile and gang crime, gave prosecutors new tools for dealing with those who make threats, he said.

  Gang members potentially could face life terms if they threaten witnesses with physical harm, Ruiz said. The law also could be applied to jurors, he said.

  It already has been used in a couple of cases, he said, including one in which a robbery victim was challenged to a fight but not actually harmed. The victim informed authorities and the culprit was allowed to plead out and avoid prison but under strict conditions of probation, Ruiz said.

  Word is spreading, he said, of the increased consequences for threatening witnesses, including the possibility of $500,000 bail in some cases.

  'It's sending shock waves through the gang community," Ruiz said.




Last edited by EVANS STR. GANG on Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:11 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Casa Blanca Articles

Post  EVANS STR. GANG on Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:40 am

Tensions Rise in Latino Neighborhood Where Police Shot 16-Year-Old
Violence: Authorities call the killing justified. But Riverside residents say the incident was an overreaction and reopened scars left by skirmishes in the 1970s.

August 05, 1991|PAUL FELDMAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
RIVERSIDE — To law enforcement authorities here, the shooting death of 16-year-old Johnny Lozano Jr. was a textbook example of justified use of force.
Before he was struck down by 10 police bullets after a scuffle with Officer Darryl Hurt, Lozano, a former ward of the California Youth Authority, had hoisted a .22-caliber handgun in the air. Afterward, tests showed that Lozano was high on PCP when Officer Phil Neglia and Hurt--who was shot in the left arm during the struggle--confronted the strapping youth in the front yard of a home in the Casa Blanca neighborhood on a night in late June.

Yet to many residents of the insular, square-mile Latino neighborhood, the hail of gunfire was a classic case of overreaction. "Ten shots? I mean, be for real," said Rozelyn Romero, Lozano's cousin.
The shots did more than kill Lozano, residents say. They reopened deep emotional scars left by a series of skirmishes with police more than a decade ago, when the blue-collar southside neighborhood earned a national reputation for violence.
Three tense, crowded community meetings were called to discuss Lozano's shooting. Police Chief Linford L. (Sonny) Richardson was roundly jeered at each one. The last meeting disintegrated abruptly after residents complained about Richardson's security precautions--a helicopter hovering over the Villegas Community Center, and 10 officers armed with semiautomatic assault rifles posted outside.
Authorities claimed that the paramilitary presence was necessary because they had uncovered a conspiracy to assassinate police officers in retaliation for Lozano's death. Police searching a Casa Blanca house recovered an assault rifle and a calendar with two dates circled for attacks on police, Capt. Chuck Hall said.
Many residents dismissed the conspiracy charge. No arrests have been made, they noted. It is, they said, another example of intimidation that has raised tension here to the breaking point.
"(The calendar) said 'Kill Pigs.' Sounds like doodling to me," scoffed Patsy Navarro, vice president of the long-established Casa Blanca Community Action Group.
These days, as police warily patrol Casa Blanca, CAG leaders are preparing a list of requests to present to the city today, including more bilingual officers and cultural sensitivity training.
Both sides said they hope to avert a rerun of the 1970s. Nearly 15 years ago, when Lozano was an infant, Casa Blanca's notoriety erupted in a bloody feud between relatives of Lozano's and another Casa Blanca family, the Ahumada’s. In all, eight members of the two families were shot dead in ambush attacks along neighborhood sidewalks and front porches.
Casa Blanca's reputation, chronicled by The New Yorker and "60 Minutes" among others, had been cemented earlier by its rocky relationship with the Riverside Police Department.
In 1974, nine officers who questioned two juveniles at a party were injured in a barrage of bottles and bricks. The next year, five people were wounded in a daylong standoff between police and snipers in a cornfield on the edge of the neighborhood.
Again in 1975, a clash between police and guests at a bachelor party ended in 51 arrests and three minor convictions--followed by a lawsuit in which a federal jury found police guilty of violating the civil rights of party-goers.
For much of the 1980s, things quieted down. A redevelopment program brought new businesses, including several upscale auto dealerships, to the neighborhood south of the Riverside Freeway.
As the twin plagues of drugs and street gangs took hold in communities across Southern California, the relative calm of Casa Blanca began to deteriorate.
In recent months, police said, Casa Blanca street gangs have taken on Riverside gangs over the drug trade. Drive-by shootings and random gunfire are increasingly common.
In fact, Officers Hurt and Neglia were answering reports of gunfire when they encountered Lozano at 10 p.m. on June 29.
The pair told a district attorney's review team that they had stopped their patrol car when they saw Lozano walking rigidly across a lawn, holding one hand behind his back and exhibiting "the 100-mile stare typical of PCP users."
As Hurt walked to within a foot or two of Lozano, the youth lifted a Ruger revolver "toward Officer Hurt's head," the officers said. Hurt grabbed the gun around its cylinder to keep it from firing.
As they grappled, Neglia stuck his gun against Lozano's upper shoulder and fired once before it temporarily jammed. Lozano then fired once, hitting Hurt in the left forearm, the officers said.
Hurt drew his gun, a 9-millimeter semiautomatic, and fired repeatedly. Between them, the two officers shot Lozano 10 times in the chest, neck, arm and back.
Many bullets struck Lozano as he rolled and twisted on the ground. At that point, states a Riverside County district attorney's report that absolves the pair, "the officers believed that Mr. Lozano still had the gun and would be able to return fire."
Assistant Dist. Atty. Randall K. Tagami, who oversaw the review, called the case "very clear-cut."
"The number of gunshots is not important. What is important is what was in the minds of the officers," said Tagami. "When an officer sees a gun pointed at him, he's not going to stop and think, 'Maybe he's going to hand me the gun.' "
Community leaders, including CAG President Raymond Navarro Jr., want further investigation.
"The use of 10 shots to kill Johnny Lozano," said Navarro, "is a big question mark for a lot of people."
They think that by confronting Lozano in a friend's yard, officers "forced the issue and created a situation that could have been avoided," Navarro said.
"It all goes back to the relationship between the Police Department and the community. It seemed like the police were just looking for something to do."
Chief Richardson acknowledged that "the tension in the community is quite high."
Last week, police said someone fired shots toward the door of the police station that serves Casa Blanca. Moments later, police answering a disturbance call at a security guard's office in a low-income housing project responded in force, driving up with their lights dimmed, and garbed in bulletproof vests.
Earlier that evening, Sgt. Pete Esquivel had arrested three youths from another part of town who were trying to steal a Casa Blanca youngster's bike.
Rather than thanking Esquivel, the bike's owner said he would refuse to be a witness against the thieves. Within minutes, more than a dozen of his friends had gathered, heckling police.
"I just want them all to die," Norine Arevalo, 15, said. "They killed my homeboy. I hope they rot in hell."
"I hate them," said Charlene Ahumada, 16. These days, she said, her family's only feud is with the police, not with the Lozano’s.
While some community activists are urging police to lower their profile, Richardson says he has no intention of backing down against a group of Casa Blanca teens whom he characterizes as gang members with chips on their shoulders and the firepower to back their anger.
"We're talking a maximum of 200 people of a population of 4,000," he said.
"They think that there is a score to settle.
"They are a pack of criminals," he said, "and that's how we're going to treat them."

Armed Teen Struck by 10 Police Bullets, Autopsy Report Shows
July 04, 1991|PAUL FELDMAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
An armed Riverside teen-ager killed in a tussle with police was struck by 10 police bullets, including two in the back, according to the Riverside County coroner's office.
Neither back wound was fatal, according to a preliminary autopsy report released Tuesday.
Riverside police said their preliminary investigation showed Johnny Lozano Jr., 16, was shot Saturday night after pointing a gun at one of two officers who stopped him while on patrol in the Casa Blanca neighborhood. The officers confronted Lozano, because he was walking awkwardly and appeared to be hiding an object behind his back, which turned out to be a gun, police said.
Friends of Lozano who witnessed the incident told reporters that the youth had attempted to surrender the weapon before he was shot. They also said Lozano was shot several times in the back after being pushed to the ground by the officers.
But police said their preliminary investigation showed that gunfire was exchanged between Lozano and the officers during a struggle. One of the officers, Darryl L. Hurt, was struck in the left arm by a bullet, requiring minor hospital treatment.
Chief Deputy Coroner Dan Cupido said Wednesday that preliminary autopsy results show that Lozano was shot six times in the torso, one time in each arm, and twice in the back.
He said it would be "pure speculation" to suggest where the officers' guns were in relation to Lozano when the shots were fired. But he added that "the bullets that entered the back definitely were not fired straight on."
"(They) entered the back (at) about the spine and transversed through the shoulder, one in each direction," Cupido said.
The incident has heightened tensions between police and residents in the working-class, center city neighborhood, which has been hard hit by drug pushers and street gang activity.
"This has hurt police-community relations quite a bit," said community activist Morris Mendoza. "(Many people) don't see why he was shot so many times."
Police spokesman Jim Cannon said that the officers were armed with 9-millimeter semiautomatic handguns, each capable of firing five bullets in three seconds.
"Emotions are high in these types of situations," Cannon agreed.


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Post  EVANS STR. GANG on Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:45 am

Vigil remembers victims of violence: CASA BLANCA: A memorial shrine was constructed on the corner of Evans and Bunker streets.
HAN KWAK
December 9, 2001

RIVERSIDE

It's a community that often gets attention for the murders that occur there.

But on Saturday night, about 40 Casa Blanca residents took to the streets and chose peace and remembrance as they participated in a candlelight vigil in memory of those lost to violence.

They said they didn't want the spirit of the vigil to be a one-night event, so they constructed a memorial shrine on the corner of Evans and Bunker streets to be a permanent part of Casa Blanca.

The shrine was built by Richard Fuentes, who said he lost his nephews, Angel "Anthony" Garcia and Gilbert Garcia, to gang violence. Both were shot to death in Riverside in the late 1990s.

"We do this to recognize them," said Fuentes of the list of names that accompanies the shrine. "I wish they were here, all those guys. They're missed."

He insists those on the list have been mislabeled as gang members and he pointed out different areas where some of the young men died, some within sight of the shrine.

"He died right there man," said an emotional Fuentes, pointing directly behind the shrine where Anthony Garcia died.

Standing 4 feet tall, the shrine includes a statue of the Virgin Mary standing atop a concrete base, with American and Mexican flags on the sides and a place for candles and vases.

The community wants anyone who lost a loved one to violence to have somewhere to go.

"It makes me feel good that (Richard) was going to do it for my son, but I said 'do it for everyone,'" said Priscilla Garcia, Fuentes' sister and Anthony and Gilbert's mother. Today marks the two-year anniversary of Anthony's death.

Riverside police Lt. John De La Rosa said homicides in Casa Blanca fluctuate from year to year. There was one death related to gang violence in 2001. One death too many, he added.

"We prefer there was zero. (But) in my experience this year is low," he said. Police presence in Casa Blanca has increased since the killing.

The victim, Glen Ayala, died in October of gunshot wounds. His name was also on the list of those remembered.

Even with emotions running deep, several people at the vigil said they refused to let anger control their lives.

"We just take it day by day," said Annie Contreras, who said she lost two sons, Joey Segovia and Daniel Contreras, to violence. "Some day, all this well end."



Violence in Casa Blanca is deplored: The names of those who have died violently in the Riverside barrio are read at a protest rally in Villegas Park.
Author: Roberto Hernandez
Date: June 11, 2000
Section: LOCAL
Page: B09

RIVERSIDE

Peggy Haro read from a neatly typed list. They were all the names she could remember -- 34 in all. Danny Ahumada Jr. . . . Jesus Cruz . . . Candy Roman Lopez . . . B.J. Lozano . . . and the 30 others. The first name on the list belonged to Haro's brother, Charlie Martinez, who was slashed and shot to death just over a year ago.

The last name on the list belonged to her father, Alex Martinez Jr., who was gunned down outside a Madison Street liquor store in 1987.

Haro's list is an incomplete one.

"I know there are so many more names," Haro told a group of relatives and supporters who gathered around a bandstand Saturday at Villegas Park in Casa Blanca. "We're all here today for the loved ones we've lost."

Haro, 44, organized and led a candlelight march Saturday through several Casa Blanca streets to remember those who had died violently in their Riverside barrio.

Stop the feuds, community leaders said. End the gangs. Enough is enough.

Each candle that supporters had carried through their neighborhood's narrow streets represented a light of hope for the tightly knit community, said John Garcia, a participant and vice president of the Casa Blanca Community Action Group.

"There's probably not a person here who hasn't been touched in some way by violence in our community," Garcia told the gathered crowd after the roughly 20-minute march. "If you haven't been, God bless you.

The roughly 80 participants carried candles protected by paper cups as they began their march shortly before 8 p.m. They headed west on Peters Street, then south along Madison Street before they returned to Villegas Park.

The march attracted some attention. A few residents idly gazed at the marchers from their porches or front yards as the procession passed by row after row of single-story homes. About seven passersby strolled near the group but kept walking.

One woman, 70-year-old Cruz Palmerin, snapped a few photographs from her home as the marchers passed by Madison Street.

"There's too much violence going on," she said. "There's too many people losing their children. It's sad, very sad."

The march was held three days after the one-year anniversary of the death of Charlie Martinez.

Last July, Haro and others participated in a similar march in Casa Blanca.

Haro has been raising money for a reward fund that she said she hopes will lead to the arrests of Martinez's killers. So far, she has raised about $2,500.

Martinez was one of five people police say were killed by gangs during an 11-month period in Casa Blanca between February 1999 and Jan. 1, 2000. Police and some Casa Blanca residents say a fear of retaliation or gang sympathies keeps many people from coming forward with information about the homicides.

After the march, Haro pleaded with members of the procession.

"I've heard of all the murders," she said. "I know some of the victims. It's just time for somebody to stand up and get these people to understand that it's got to end -- the gangs, the feuds, the murders.

Garcia, holding a white carnation dyed blue, offered his own words of encouragement and pointed to the lit candles.

"Those are all lights of hope, hope for this community," he said. "Even though they'll all go out tonight, they won't go out in your hearts. Certainly not in Peggy's heart."


Marchers ask peace for sake of family
About 50 march through the streets of Casa Blanca, white flags fluttering.
March 26, 1995
By Ricardo Duran The Press-Enterprise


RIVERSIDE

They marched through the streets of Casa Blanca yesterday in memory of the dead and for the sake of the living.

About 50 people, most of them mothers, wives or sisters of young people killed on the often-tough streets of the mostly Hispanic community in Riverside, took to the streets with signs and white flags calling for peace - for the sake of family.

They also remembered the dead, such as 21-year-old Christopher Manzanares, shot and killed six years ago at the corner of Emerald and Madison streets.

Julia Jaramillo participated for the sake of her 27-year-old daughter, Regina Jaramillo, shot in the torso about two weeks ago at a nearby apartment complex. Regina Jaramillo remained at Riverside General Hospital yesterday recovering from her injuries.

For one of the organizers of the march, Martha Hernandez, the demonstration was in memory of her son, Daniel, who was beaten to death in 1990, and her nephew, Salvador Gonzales, who was shot and killed in 1981.

She said recent violence in Casa Blanca spurred her and others into action.

"I was tired of seeing all these deaths," Hernandez said.

"Acompananos en la lucha!" (Join us in the struggle) she shouted as the group left the Ysmael Villegas Community Center and headed wast on Evans Street.

Under a brilliant blue sky, the crowd marched as a cool breeze whipped white flags carried as symbols of peace. The entourage drew neighbors such as Cornelio Velasquez, who watched them go by.

Some like Patsy Rivera cheered the marchers on, taking advantage of the demonstration to take a break from her yard work.

"Hey, I think it's great," she said from her front yard on Evans Street. "Too bad we don't have more of these marches and less of the shooting."

Rivera said she raised three sons and a daughter in Casa Blanca who are in their 20s now.

"We've got children growing up here. Many of them are on the sidelines and they're getting hit in the process," Rivera said.

As the group turned south on Grace Street, some other people joined in the march and Hernandez's 4-year-old grandson, Mikey, joined in the shouting, repeating in a barely audible voice, the shouts of his grandmother.

"Stop the killing," they shouted. "Ya paren con la violencia," (Stop the violence now) and "No more drive-by shootings!"

"The people are fed up with violence, drugs, shootings and gangs," said Al Kovar, the director of the Casa Blanca Home of Neighborly service, which runs many youth and community programs. "They've all lost greatly and they don't want to see anyone else lose, too."

Kovar and Hernandez worked together to put the march on through the auspices of the Casa Blanca Community Youth Services.

Yesterday's march was the first of several the group, Mothers and Wives Against Gang Violence, plans to hold in Casa Blanca. The group is scheduled to meet regularly at the Villegas Park community center.

Yesterday, marchers took a break as they approached a Ford minivan parked near the corner of Grace Street and Lincoln Avenue at 12:20 p.m. There, Arthur and Eleanor Manzanares distributed soft drinks to the marchers.

"We lost our son about six years ago," Eleanor Manzanares said of the shooting death of Christopher Manzanares. "There's nothing more devastating than to lose a child."

Melissa Aguilar wore a T-shirt with her cousin Christopher's face on it. "He was killed in a drive-by shooting," she said. "I guess it takes a bigger person to put the gun down than to pick it up."

As they resumed marching on Lincoln Avenue, some motorists honked and gave shouts of encouragment.

About 10 minutes later, the crowd arrived at a park next to the Casa Blanca Branch Library where they shouted to people in passing cars.

Spanish-language radio station KDIF set up a booth shaped like a giant red boom box with an amplifier from which speakers asked others to join the rally at the park.

Much like the New Year's Day march by 500 people through the Eastside of Riverside, yesterday's march was a statement against escalating gang violence, said Arturo Suarez, who participated in both.

At the Casa Blanca park, three trash cans marked "drugs," "guns," and "weapons" were set up inviting residents to turn in such items.

No one did.

"The boy who shot my son is in prison," Manzanares told the crowd. "But his parents can visit him. They can hug their son, but I can't."

Hernandez said, "We gotta let it penetrate to the pandillas (gangs). To those people who are doing the killing."

For more information about Mothers and Wives Against Gang Violence, call the Ysmael Villegas Community Center at (909) 351-6142.


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Police actions protested - and praised
Some Casa Blanca residents criticize the handling of an investigation of a shooting of a helicopter. At a City Council meeting, other residents offer their help.
January 11, 1995
By David Ogul and Phil Pitchford The Press-Enterprise

RIVERSIDE

While more than a dozen Casa Blanca residents protested yesterday against police tactics after last week's police helicopter shooting, other residents of the Hispanic community said investigating officers acted appropriately.

There were strong words on both sides.

"These are just plain, old fashioned Gestapo tactics," said Raul Wilson, an organizer for the Mexican Political Association, which organized yesterday's protests. "You don't stop people for no reason, put a gun to their head and demand information." There were pickets at police headquarters and at City Hall.

But at yesterday morning's City Council meeting, four members of the Casa Blanca Community Action Group showed up to support police for the way they handled the New Year's Eve shooting that left one officer with a shattered foot and forced a pilot to land the craft in a nearby intersection. They also offered any help they could.

"If there's something you want to know, just call us," said Richard Roa.

Residents who claim officers are overzealous have already met with police administrators on at least two occasions, but those involved in yesterday's protests say they have gotten nowhere.

"It hasn't been taken care of," said Cynthia Gutierrez, a Casa Blanca resident who is also chairwoman of the Riverside chapter of the Mexican Political Association. "They are indiscriminately stopping and questioning people to try to get information about the shooting."

Morris Mendoza, however, asking the council to study ways to prevent New Year's Eve gunfire in the future, praised Police Chief Ken Fortier for his leadership and the pilot who was able to land the helicopter without endangering the lives of Casa Blanca residents.

"The problems are with the shooters," Mendoza said.

Deputy Police Chief Mike Blakely said he could not respond to specific complaints, but said all allegations would be investigated thoroughly. He reminded the crowd that the New Year's Eve incident had the potential to kill two police officers and neighborhood residents.

"This department has responded appropriately to that crime," Blakely said. "We will not be intimidated, nor will the residents of Casa Blanca."

Officer Ken Raya, a patrol officer in Casa Blanca who was not at the council meeting or the picketing of police headquarters, said that he has not stopped anyone who is not violating the law.

Raya added, however, that he and others are stopping and arresting people for curfew violations and what some may consider minor drug offenses.

At one point in the council meeting, Councilwoman Terri Thompson angered some people in the audience when she tried to make a point about improved relationships between the neighborhood and city government.

She said when she moved to Riverside in the 1960s, she asked about Casa Blanca and was told the area "should be fenced off and let them destroy themselves."

"I think we have come a long way from that," Thompson said.

MPA members got up and left during the remainder of Thompson's comments. Once outside, they began shouting "Terri Thompson must go." After Thompson finished speaking, Roa said he was "very hurt" by what Thompson said.

Meanwhile, Police Chief Ken Fortier described the police crackdown in these terms:

"It is an aggressive police operation to try to learn as much as we can about this incident while at the same time trying to enforce the law in the community."

He added that most of the arrests that have been made were for various felonies.

Fortier also supported the practice of police stopping pedestrians and motorists to try to get information about the shooting.

"It's a legitimate police tactic to conduct field interviews while you're investigating a serious crime," he said. His only restriction is that those stopped be treated with respect and courtesy.

"Have we been perfect in all cases?" he said. "Probably not. But where we get complaints, we're looking into them and dealing with the problem."

Detective Ron Sanfilippo, the lead investigator in the shooting case, said no arrests are imminent and no suspects have been identified in connection with the incident.

"No one's coming forward with any information," he said. "People are afraid."

Gutierrez said people aren't afraid, "they don't have any information."



A ROOKIE COP GETS A LESSON - As a young police officer, Sonny Richardson was beaten up by some Hispanics. Fifteen years later he became police chief.
Author: Skip Morgan
Date: January 29, 1996
Section: A SECTION
Page: A01

RIVERSIDE

Linford L. "Sonny" Richardson, the man who would become Riverside's chief of police, had been a cop less than a year when he was jumped by a group of Hispanic teen-agers and knocked unconscious outside a church dance in the town's Casa Blanca neighborhood. "A group of young troublemakers knocked me down and probably would have killed me if some courageous people did not come to my rescue," said Richardson, who retired as chief in 1992 and now runs an island inn in Washington's Puget Sound.

It was the kind of incident that certainly can leave its impression on a rookie. In fact, the 1968 incident provided an early illustration of the problems Richardson would encounter in the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood as he climbed through the ranks.

As to the thrashing that Richardson took, there seem to be two stories.

Activist Jennie Rivera said Richardson already was widely known in the neighborhood when he was attacked by youths in Casa Blanca, an area that has seen more than a few scenes of street violence and police confrontations.

"He came on as a rookie, talking cocky and waving his stick," said Rivera, who had her own run-in with Richardson over a 1975 police raid on a party at her home. "He was almost asking for a fight."

Richardson said he was attacked by youths after another officer arrested a teen-ager. He said he was left alone outside St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Casa Blanca when the other officer drove a suspect to jail.

"Since they couldn't get the officer who had arrested their friend, they took it out on me," he said.

After the incident, Richardson wrote a letter published in the Open Forum (letters to the editor) feature of The Press, thanking the person who helped save him from further attack.

"The Mexican-Americans in Casa Blanca did more than assist a police officer in trouble," he wrote."They made it known that they want an orderly community and are willing to get involved to have it."

A police report at the time said one 13-year-old who had just left the church hurled obscenities at a police car as he walked by. The report said three officers, including Arthur Arciniega and Roy Rogers, were attacked as officers took the youth into custody, but only Richardson had to be treated at the hospital.

Many longtime Casa Blanca residents believe Richardson failed to recognize the line between troublemakers and law-abiding residents in Casa Blanca as he aggressively targeted violent crime in the square-mile neighborhood south of Highway 91.

Richardson believes his problems with Casa Blanca community leaders stemmed partly from their insistence on special privileges.

"They thought they should be able to drink beer in the park," he said. "I applied the law equally across the entire city."

At one time, he publicly accused the Casa Blanca Community Action Group of "constantly criticizing police, siding with the criminal element" in a 1991 confrontation.

Richard Roa, who has lived in Casa Blanca for about 40 years, puts the blame on police for the periodic violence that has erupted over the past 25 years.

The 66-year-old Roa, who worked for the city as a liaison with Casa Blanca in the 1970s, said he has watched the neighborhood go through cycles of violence as police roughed up teen-agers and the youths responded by throwing rocks and bottles.

"The cops come on too strong and the kids don't like it," Roa said. "All we wanted was for them to arrest people without abusing them."

Richardson insisted that disciplinary action was taken against abusive officers. However, he acknowledged that aggressive tactics used in some high-crime areas were meant to harass residents in neighborhoods where gang activity or drug dealing was suspected.

"We would look for minor vehicle equipment violations or any legal justification to stop movement in specific areas," he said. "We did not want people to move around freely."

Richardson acknowledges some innocent residents might feel victimized by the tactics, but he believes hard-nosed, aggressive enforcement is the best way to win community support in crime-ridden areas.

"Sitting down or playing basketball with people who are terrorizing the community does not build up community confidence in the police," he said.

As he was coming up the ranks, Richardson became embroiled in another major fight in Casa Blanca. Police staged a raid on the home on Jennie Rivera and Richardson was one of two sergeants on the scene.

Police said party guests sparked the melee by tossing objects at officers chasing suspects from a traffic stop down the street from the Rivera home.

A federal judge ruled in 1980 that Richardson was negligent in his actions during the melee, in which party guests were tear-gassed and beaten with batons.

Richardson, in a recent telephone interview, said he was arresting a youth who tried to interfere with the traffic stop and did not arrive at Rivera's house until after officers had fired tear gas.

"I don't blame them for their feelings against me," he said. "I would probably feel the same way if police filled my house with tear gas."

Rivera believes the former chief followed a long pattern of white Riverside police officers who won promotions through aggressive tactics in Casa Blanca.

"To make him police chief was the city's way of showing they approved of what he did to us," said Rivera, a 61-year-old retired customer service manager at The Broadway department store.

Richardson has said the 1968 beating he took had no influence on how he later enforced the law in Casa Blanca.

"To think that I reduce this thing to some personal level is way off base," Richardson said, in a 1991 interview.

But the lawsuit, along with three other successful federal lawsuits against the police department in the 1980s, did leave an indelible impression on Richardson.

"My greatest fear as an officer was not the violence," said Richardson, speaking by phone from his Washington inn. "It was that we could get sued and lose everything."

Richardson said one of his first actions after he was appointed police chief in 1983 was to reduce regulations and establish a "high trust, low control administration" for the cops on the street.

"Officers make mistakes," he said. "I felt as long as officers acted in good faith, they should not have to worry about being second-guessed."

Under the policy, Richardson said supervisors were given authority to decide whether citizen complaints merited review.

Richardson said officers did not have to worry about having their careers ruined by mistakes that he believed were unintentional.

Roa said the perspective from Casa Blanca was different. He said residents drew reactions ranging from hostility to indifference when they attempted to file complaints against police officers during Richardson's 9 1/2 years as chief.

Richardson, a native of Glendale who graduated from Poly High in Riverside, points to April 1992 - just eight months before he retired - to back his opinion that most of the city's minority residents shared his trust.

When violence flared in other cities following the acquittal of white Los Angeles police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King, Richardson said he sent a contingent of officers to Los Angeles because he was confident that Riverside's minority neighborhoods would remain calm.

"That was a benchmark to show how much race relations in the city had improved," he said.

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Post  EVANS STR. GANG on Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:54 am

Rest In Peace Cisco Kid "DWS"

Teen found shot to death on street in Casa Blanca Riverside police say the youth was armed with a revolver and a sawed-off shotgun.
Author: Mark Henry
Date: February 14, 1999
Section: LOCAL
Page: B02

RIVERSIDE

A Riverside teen armed with a revolver and sawed-off shotgun was shot and killed by an unknown assailant early Saturday in the Casa Blanca neighborhood. Coroner's officials and family members identified the teen as 17-year-old Francisco Carranza Jr., a student at the alternative Raincross High School in Riverside.

Police responding to a call of shots fired found Carranza face-down at the corner of Evans and Juanita streets about 2 a.m. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

He had a loaded revolver in his right hand and a sawed-off shotgun in the rear waistband of his pants, said Riverside Police Lt. Jim Cannon.

Earlier, friends saw Carranza leaving a Valentine's Day dance held Friday night at the Villegas Park community center about a block away, Cannon said. Police reported no problems there.

Rodrigo Rios, 21, a friend who lives nearby, said he and Carranza played Nintendo games at Rios' home until early Saturday morning. Carranza then left, saying he was headed home to his family's house on Evans Street, less than a five-minute walk away.

Rios declined to talk about circumstances surrounding the shooting.

"He was a great friend," said Rios, saying Carranza enjoyed lifting weights, playing video games and listening to rap music. "We knew each other so well and now this happens."

Police said they do not know what led to the shooting and had not arrested anyone as of Saturday evening. They also did not know if Carranza had fired his weapons or other details of the shooting.

Carranza's mother, Mercedes, and 14-year-old sister, Lucia, said they had no idea what led to the shooting. Grieving family members and friends gathered at the family home Saturday.

Besides his mother and sister, Carranza is survived by his father, Francisco; an 18-year-old brother, Hugo; and a 9-year-old sister, Remedios. Funeral arrangements have not been set.

Another shooting in Casa Blanca A Riverside man suffers a gunshot wound to the abdomen four days after the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old in the same neighborhood.
Author: Lisa O'Neill Hill
Date: February 18, 1999
Section: LOCAL
Page: B03

RIVERSIDE

The sound of gunfire has permeated the air in a Casa Blanca neighborhood twice in four days, and neighbors know what to do. "Everybody just hits the deck," said Mike Torres, 44, who said he heard 25 to 30 rounds near his Juanita Street home Tuesday night.

This time, Michael Segovia, a Riverside man whose age was unavailable, suffered a gunshot wound to his abdomen. Saturday morning, Francisco Carranza Jr., 17, was fatally shot as he walked home from a Valentine's Day dance, police said.

The shootings occurred within about a block of each other, police said.

"We're exploring the possibility they are related, but at this point it doesn't appear they are," said Riverside Police Sgt. Mark Boyer, who heads the homicide unit.

Police found Segovia lying in the 3100 block of Juanita Street about 10:30 p.m., after receiving numerous calls of shots being fired, Riverside police Lt. Pete Esquivel said.

Segovia was taken to Riverside Community Hospital, where he underwent surgery. He was listed as stable Wednesday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Officers found Anthony Martinez, 19, of Riverside hiding inside a nearby home, Esquivel said. Martinez had kicked in a rear door to the home. A 9mm pistol was found lying near the door.

Witnesses told police that a car was driving south on Juanita Street when the shooting erupted. Martinez was identified as being involved in the shooting, Esquivel said.

Martinez was arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide and booked at the Robert Presley Detention Center in downtown Riverside.

But it remains unclear exactly how or why the shooting occurred, police said.

Meanwhile, a makeshift shrine with a cross, red, green and white balloons, numerous candles and a sign lie at the intersection where Carranza died early Saturday.

Carranza, a student at the alternative Raincross High School in Riverside, was found dead lying face down at Evans and Juanita streets about 2 a.m. Saturday.

Police have said he was armed with a loaded revolver and had a sawed-off shotgun in his rear waistband. He had been to a Valentine's Day dance Friday night at the Villegas Park community center about a block away. Police reported no problems there.

No arrests have been made in connection with Carranza's death.

Anyone with information about Carranza's death is asked to call Detective Bob Shelton at 320-8049. Anyone who may have additional information on the Tuesday night shooting is asked to call Detective Mike Eveland at 320-8024.


FREE TIO BOBBY
Grand Terrace man sentenced in killing - Casa Blanca teen died in 1991 drive-by shooting that wounded two others.
Author: Mike Kataoka
Date: October 30, 1993
Section: LOCAL
Page: B09

RIVERSIDE

A 25-year-old Grand Terrace man was sentenced to prison yesterday for murdering a teen-ager and attempting to murder two others in a drive-by shooting in Casa Blanca two years ago. A Riverside jury in June convicted Robert Lawrence Jaramillo of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder.

The jury found that on the morning of Oct. 19, 1991, Jaramillo was in a car that drove by and opened fire on an unarmed group standing in a driveway on Diamond Street. Prosecutor Richard Bentley contended the shooting was in retaliation for an earlier fight involving Jaramillo's sister. Killed was Daniel Contreras, 15, of Riverside.

Also shot were Contreras' cousins, Bo Grajeda, then 14, and Eric Valdez, then 18, both of Riverside. The gunshot wounds paralyzed Grajeda from the neck down while Valdez was not as seriously injured.

The jury found insufficient evidence that the shooting was premeditated and rejected Bentley's request for first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder verdicts.

Witnesses told police that Jaramillo, a former Casa Blanca resident, was the shooter and he was arrested two days later. In a probation report, Jaramillo maintained his innocence, suggesting he had been "set up" to take the blame.

The defendant's father, Robert Jaramillo Sr., told Judge Robert G. Spitzer yesterday in court that the Jaramillo family, too, is convinced of his son's innocence based on what people in the community have told him, including some members of the murder victim's family.

"Giving my son the maximum (sentence) for something he didn't do will accomplish nothing," said Jaramillo.

But Contreras' father, Reynaldo Contreras, said in court that the jury should have convicted Jaramillo of first-degree murder and called the drive-by shooting, especially of teen-agers, a cowardly act.

"He won't pay for my son even with his whole life in jail," Contreras said.

Spitzer sentenced Jaramillo to 17 years, eight months in prison for the attempted murders with special allegations that he used a gun and caused great bodily injury.

The judge sentenced Jaramillo to 15 years to life for the second-degree murder, to be served consecutively with the term for the attempted murders.

Spitzer told Jaramillo he probably will have to serve close to 20 years before he could be considered for parole.

EVANS STR. GANG
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11th Anniversary.

Post  still.blessed on Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:47 pm

Its gonna be 11 years since we lost our beloved Baby Danny. Love u cuzn.

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