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Santa Ana Teen-Agers Linked to Gang : Two Suspects Arrested in Drive-By Shootings

June 24, 1989|KEVIN O'LEARY | Times Staff Writer

Santa Ana police on Friday arrested two people in a gang-related shooting in western Santa Ana on Wednesday that left four people wounded and neighborhood residents worried about increased street violence this summer.

"We are going to reclaim certain sections of the city that have been plagued by gang activity," Councilman Ron May, a member of the council's Public Safety Committee, said after the arrests Friday. "This is an example of the fine work our police are doing."

Jose Luis Martinez, 18, was arrested at 5:30 a.m. Friday at his home in Santa Ana, police spokeswoman Maureen Thomas said. A 14-year-old teen-ager was also taken into custody Thursday at 4:20 p.m. in the neighborhood where the shootings occurred. He was driving the blue car that is suspected to have been used in the shootings, police said.

Both teen-agers are gang members, Thomas said. Police believe the 14-year-old was driving and that Martinez fired the shots from a .22-caliber rifle later found at his home, she said.

The drive-by shootings took place Wednesday about 8:45 p.m. when a gunman in a speeding car fired first at two boys riding on a bicycle in the 2300 block of West Monta Vista Avenue, wounding both. The gunman then shot a 21-year-old man and wounded another teen-ager after the car rounded the corner to the 600 block of South Townsend Street.

One victim, Carlos F. Gutierrez, was treated overnight for a facial wound at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center and released Thursday. Gutierrez, 21, was shot as he stood in his yard on Townsend Street. Thomas said all three juvenile victims are expected to survive, but that police did not want to release any other information on their conditions.

"As to why the shooting happened, that will come out in court. We know the two arrestees are gang members and feel that was the motivating factor in the shootings," Thomas said. Martinez was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and taken to Orange County Jail. The unidentified 14-year-old was being held at Orange County Juvenile Hall on the same suspicion.

Drive-by shootings in Santa Ana are already more frequent this year than in 1988, police said, and gang activity typically increases in the summer. About 50 drive-by shootings have been reported so far this year in Santa Ana, in contrast with 68 in all of 1988, according to Police Lt. David Salazar, chief of the unit that includes gang crime investigations.

There have been multiple injuries and deaths in previous shootings, but Wednesday's incident apparently involved the largest number of people wounded in a single drive-by incident, according to police spokeswoman Thomas.

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