Two Van Nuys men were each charged Tuesday with three counts of attempted murder in connection with a gang gun battle that earlier this month left three teen-agers injured, one having to have his left leg amputated, police said.
Enrico Tolentino, 18, and Cloyd Reyes, also 18, both pleaded not guilty to the charges in Van Nuys Municipal Court.
The two men and eight juveniles, all age 16 or 17, are accused of firing at a carload of unarmed rival gang members.
The juveniles were arraigned Friday on similar charges in San Fernando Valley Juvenile Court in Sylmar. Deputy Dist. Atty. Bill Ryder said fitness hearings will be held for some of the juveniles to determine if they can be tried as adults.
Los Angeles Police Detective John Edwards said the attack was apparently an escalation of an incident that occurred between members of the rival gangs at James Monroe High School in late June.
"It was some type of macho thing argument," he said. "But not all those involved attend Monroe."
Edwards said the gun battle took place shortly before 9 p.m. July 7 at the intersection of Valerio Street and Van Nuys Boulevard. He said three vehicles containing 12 members of one gang confronted a single car with five members of a rival gang.
All four vehicles emptied and three members of the first gang opened fire on the unarmed second gang. Three of the five members of the second gang were injured, one receiving multiple gunshot wounds to his left leg, which had to be amputated. He remains hospitalized in critical condition, Edwards said. The other two received superficial wounds.
The two adults and eight juveniles were arrested a day after the incident at their homes and other locations. Police are still seeking two other men believed to have been involved in the shooting.