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Local News in Brief : Purported Gang Member, 17, Charged With Killing Boy, 10

July 23, 1987

A 17-year-old gang member was charged Wednesday with murder in the death of a 10-year-old boy who was shot Sunday as he played with other children, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said.

The suspect is expected to be arraigned today in Sylmar Juvenile Hall, Deputy Dist. Atty. Cesar C. Sarmiento said.

The victim, Alejandro Salazar, was hit Sunday night by a single bullet in the back of his head as he stood with a group of children near Pacoima Park, Detective Cliff Ruff of the Los Angeles Police Department said. A motorist who saw the shooting took Alejandro to Serra Memorial Health Center in Sun Valley, where the boy died a few hours later.

Police say the shooting stemmed from a dispute that began in the 12800 block of Pierce Street when five gang members, 18 to 20 years old, confronted three youths who were not gang members. The gang members punched a 14-year-old boy for wearing red pants. Red is a rival gang's color, Ruff said.

Ruff said the gang members finally realized that the three youths were not members of the rival gang and were leaving when the 17-year-old, who had not been involved in the fight, fired two shots at their departing car. One of the shots struck Alejandro.

The 17-year-old was arrested at his Pacoima home Monday after being identified by witnesses, Ruff said. He is being detained in Sylmar Juvenile Hall.

Residents of San Fernando Garden Apartments, where Alejandro lived, have contributed about $600 to the family for funeral expenses, said Mercedes Salazar, 30, the boy's mother.

The funeral is tentatively scheduled for Sunday. A Mass will be celebrated Monday morning at Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Pacoima.

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