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Third Corona Teen Held in Fatal Stabbing

Police say the three suspects in the slaying of a 15-year-old are gang members. Meanwhile, friends and family hold a public funeral service.

May 20, 2005|Susannah Rosenblatt | Times Staff Writer

Police on Thursday arrested the last remaining suspect in last week's slaying of a Corona teenager -- as thousands gathered the same day for the victim's funeral.

Corona and Riverside police, acting on a tip, arrested Edward Juan Cuellar, 16, of Corona about 1 a.m. after the sport utility vehicle he was riding in with five other people was stopped on Van Buren Boulevard in Riverside, said Sgt. Neil Reynolds of the Corona Police Department.

Dominic Redd, 15, was stabbed to death after being chased by three assailants at the Contadora condominium complex in Corona on May 11, authorities said. The two other suspects were arrested Monday.

Cuellar, along with suspects Joey Alfredo Diaz, 15, and Johnny Ray Aquirre Jr., 16, are members of a Corona street gang, police said. Diaz and Aquirre will be tried as adults on murder and gang charges, and police are asking the district attorney to prosecute Cuellar on the same charges, in addition to hate-crime allegations for all three.

The suspects, who are Latino, apparently made "derogatory comments" to Dominic, an African American, before the attack, Corona Police Sgt. Jerry Rodriguez said.

It was not known whether Cuellar was a student at Centennial High School, where Dominic was a freshman, Reynolds said. Diaz and Aquirre were not students at the school, Rodriguez said.

Also Thursday, an emotional crowd of several thousand people, including students, relatives and community members, gathered at Crossroads Church in Corona for a public funeral service for Dominic.

A video montage of family photos of Dominic grinning as a gap-toothed toddler and smiling as a young man was shown to a Boyz II Men song, "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday," bringing sobs from many in the capacity crowd.

Some students wore football jerseys from the Centennial Huskies squad, for which No. 4 Dominic was a star running back. Others wore T-shirts emblazoned with the team photo and the words "In Loving Memory."

Dominic's friends and teammates struggled to recite selected Bible verses and a poem to the crowd without breaking down.

"I loved him like he was my brother," said freshman Nia Pines, 14, as she walked into the service. "He always had a smile on his face. He could always cheer you up."

Meg Tagle, 15, also a freshman, had waited in line for two hours to buy a T-shirt commemorating Dominic.

"I just want [people] to remember he was a good person, and never forget him," she said.

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