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Fullerton pastor holds march after gang attack

About 50 people participate in the Rev. Willie Holmes' procession to raise awareness about community violence. Holmes said he's disappointed police have arrested only 3 of about 20 suspects.

February 16, 2009|Christine Hanley

A longtime Fullerton minister who was targeted in a gang attack led a march Sunday to raise awareness about community violence as police announced they had arrested three juveniles on suspicion of hurling rocks and bricks at the minister and his sons.

The Rev. Willie Holmes, president and founder of Majesty Christian Fellowship, said about 50 to 60 supporters joined the procession after church services.

"We're going to get through this in peace and in love," Holmes said in a phone interview after the march.

The three suspects have been booked on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, felony vandalism and a gang enhancement, Fullerton Police Sgt. Mike MacDonald said Sunday in a written statement.

Holmes said he was driving with his two sons and another passenger Friday night when a group of about 20 youths confronted them about a block and a half from the church.

According to Holmes, the youths shouted "FTT" -- short for Fullerton Tokers Town, a local Latino gang -- and ran in front of the car. He said he drove around them and headed to the church, where he and his passengers ran from the car and hid inside. The attackers followed on foot and smashed the windows of the pastor's car and the church office.

Police responding to a 911 call detained two of the suspects almost immediately and caught up with a third a short distance away, according to MacDonald.

They were in custody at Orange County Juvenile Hall.

Holmes said he believes that more youths could have been arrested, considering the size of the group that confronted him. He said he is disappointed that police have not called him since the attack, and that no one from the Police Department or City Hall participated in the march.

"I'm going to keep moving on in spite of the circumstances," Holmes said.

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christine.hanley@latimes.com

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