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California Briefing / VALLEY GLEN

Man is arrested in shooting of bus rider

August 04, 2008|Tami Abdollah

A suspected gang member who police said shot an unarmed man in a brawl that started on an Orange Line bus in Valley Glen was in custody on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

Jesse Levi Dayton, 18, of Van Nuys and two other suspected gang members were riding the bus about 6:30 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of Burbank Boulevard and Fulton Avenue when they got into an argument with three other passengers, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Keith Obenberger, of the transit services bureau.

Investigators believe the passengers were not gang members, he added.

"All six of them got off the bus on the Orange Line, and a fight ensued, and one of the gang members pulled a gun [and] shot once," Obenberger said.

A man was shot in the elbow. He was treated at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and released, Obenberger said.

Dayton's two companions, who were not named, were taken to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, where they were being treated for "major facial injuries" that included eye damage and a broken jaw, Obenberger said.

"Actually the suspects ended up getting hurt more than the others," he said.

According to sheriff's inmate records, Dayton had been arrested twice in the previous week on misdemeanor and felony charges and was out on bail when the fight occurred. He is being held at the Lost Hills sheriff's station on $25,000 bail.

The two other alleged gang members have not been booked because they are still hospitalized, Obenberger said.

"There's always the question 'What were the victims doing that may have prompted the assault -- could it have been something that was just mutual combat?' " Obenberger said.

"But the one who took out the gun and shot, there is no justification, unless it was life or death."

Obenberger said Los Angeles Police Department officials ran the names of the three men determined not to be gang members through three gang databases before releasing them.

Even so, Obenberger said, the fight was probably "gang-related, in one form or another."

-- Tami Abdollah

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