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7 Arrested 5 Years After Gang Feud Killing

August 11, 2004|Erin Ailworth | Times Staff Writer

Five years after a gang feud led to a teenager's death, Westminster police have arrested seven men on suspicion of murder.

"The message to gang members should be very, very clear: Gang members that engage in violent activities are not going to have any place to hide," said county gang prosecutor Ebrahim Baytieh. "Sooner or later, they are going to be held accountable for their conduct."

The most recent arrest in the case was made Monday, officials said.

The 1999 slaying of 16-year-old The Duy Nguyen Doan of Westminster occurred as part of an escalation of fighting between two rival gangs, Baytieh said. According to the prosecutor, one gang member told his friends that he had been shot at by another gang, and a shootout followed on that July 4 weekend.

Less than 24 hours later, Baytieh said, another gun battle occurred as friends of the originally targeted gang member cruised around in two cars "hunting" for their enemies.

They ended up at a well-known hangout of their rival gang, said Westminster Sgt. Michael Chapman. The two gangs recognized each other, and a car chase resulted.

"It was a car-to-car shooting, and that's when the victim got shot in the head," Chapman said. Doan died two days later.

No arrests were made at the time of Doan's death, Baytieh said, but the case remained open.

Ongoing evaluation of the evidence, interviews from 1999 and follow-up investigations led authorities to file murder charges July 30 against 10 suspects, Baytieh said. Investigators with the Target Unit -- which includes staff from the district attorney's office, Westminster police and the Orange County Probation Department -- began rounding up suspects the same day.

The Monday arrest occurred after police tracked one gang member to Ohio, Chapman said. The man's name was not released because he was a minor at time of the 1999 shooting.

Also arrested were Westminster residents Nhan Le, 23; Bao Quoc Nguyen, 23; and Thuong Si Troung, 25, Baytieh said. Si Pho Do, 23, who is in the Navy, also was arrested. All are charged with provoking the gun battle that killed Doan, a member of their gang, Baytieh said.

Thuan Trinh, 23, and another Westminster man whose name was not released because he was a juvenile at the time, were arrested on suspicion of murder as members of the rival gang held responsible for shooting Doan, Baytieh said.

All seven are scheduled to appear in court Aug. 20. Police are still searching for the remaining three suspects.

Investigators said they hope the arrests will help bring closure to Doan's family.

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