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Bell Gardens : 16-Year-Old Held in Fatal Shooting of 6th-Grade Boy

February 27, 1992

A 16-year-old Bell Gardens resident has been arrested in connection with the slaying of a Bell Gardens Intermediate School sixth-grader, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies said Wednesday.

The youth, whose name was not released due to his age, is suspected of shooting 12-year-old Jorge Ornelas, who was talking with friends Sunday in an alley behind his cousin's house.

Sheriff's investigators said a teen-ager wearing a black Raiders jacket and a black cap rode by on a bicycle and fired one bullet into the group at about 11 p.m. Ornelas, who was taken to Downey Community Hospital, died about an hour later.

After his arrest Monday afternoon, the suspect denied any knowledge of the slaying, Sheriff's Detective Russell Uloth said, but told investigators he had recently joined a Bell Gardens gang. He was detained as he appeared at Los Padrinos Juvenile Court on an unrelated criminal charge, Uloth said.

Uloth said he didn't believe Ornelas had any gang ties.

A 22-year-old who asked not to be identified said he was in the alley with Ornelas. "I thought (Jorge) was joking when he said 'I got shot,' " the man said. "Then we saw the blood."

At Bell Gardens Intermediate School, Principal Louis Ayala said he had "no knowledge to indicate Jorge was a gang member," and called the shooting tragic. He said Ornelas was on a three-week break and was due to come back to the year-round school March 9.

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